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SMEs, cooperatives get big boost

By Thomas Mupfuka

Information technology solutions provider Disruptive Technologies Africa (DTA) says its newly introduced cloud based business management system will transform the administration of small to medium enterprises and cooperatives in the country.

DTA and its Kenyan partner, Sybyl last week launched the product in Zimbabwe and it believes the system is going to be a game-changer.

The cloud-based core banking system will be housed within FBC Bank and its main target group is the informal sector.

Cooperatives, SMEs, farmers, vendors and women’s clubs among many others will be able to do their financial transactions, including banking and have an access system that will enable them to efficiently run their enterprises.

Sybyl, with an annual turnover of US$100 million joined hands with FBC Bank, Net One, TelOne and DTA, a company founded by Doug Mamvura to bring the system to Zimbabwe.

TelOne will provide cloud services, while NetOne will facilitate access to all mobile phone related transactions. FBC Bank will be the main bank hosting all the transactions while Sybyl and DTA will provide the technology platform.

Mamvura said the technology will ensure accountability and transparency in the running of SMEs and cooperatives while giving them access to foreign markets.

“Basically, what we have done is to bring those guys that have been previously marginalised in terms of accessing relevant software and hardware in their operations,” he said in an interview.

“We are bringing them on the same level with those established corporates.

“The cooperatives would not need to invest lots of money in servers and computers.

“Some of the key features include the management of banking transactions because these groups receive money from members, so there is group savings, and they also lend money to members and all this will be automated to deal with exploitation

“Members can track and trace every transaction that will be taking place within the organisation.”

Sybyl director cloud services, Sunil Varghuese, said they were inspired to launch the product in Zimbabwe after rolling out similar services in Uganda and Kenya.

“We are coming in to do those complex aspects of the business and we will be giving core banking as a service, and other services such as human resources payroll, business intelligence, dashboards and software based IP telephoning without buying a private automated branch exchange ( PABX),” he said.

“In Zimbabwe, we are targeting Central Association of Agricultural Cooperatives (Cacu) and Savings and Credit Cooperative Society (Saccos).

“If there are 50 Cacus registered on the servers for each of them we create servers in the cloud and install applications for each individual company, and each will transact as if they have separate infrastructure.

“Our company will do all the financial investment, then we split money invested into small monthly payments from Cacu.

“For this model, we will not be profitable for two years after that our company will make something out of it.

“We have done similar projects in Uganda and Kenya, hence we decided to come to Zimbabwe.”

Meanwhile, registrar of co-operatives Thabani Shoko, challenged all partners involved in the project to ensure that data sovereignty remained paramount.
Cooperatives will be paying monthly subscriptions to access these services.

Members will also be able to access loans, medical aid, insurance among other services from this ecosystem.

There will be also value addition enhancement for the members. For example, tomato growers will be encouraged and supported to establish a canning factory for tomatoes.

Cross border members will have a system that is linked to the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority where they can pay for their goods on line while they are on their way and by the time they get to the border everything will be done.

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