From roadside kiosks to retail chain stores and unicorn tech start-ups, Africa is teeming with the spirit of entrepreneurship. Spurred by a young, tech-savvy population and a growing middle class, Africa has become a melting pot for innovation over the last decade, with MSMEs driving signiﬁcant economic growth and development across the continent. However, despite accounting for over 90% of employment on the continent, African entrepreneurs still face a myriad of problems that inhibit their ability to build lasting businesses. Chief among these problems is a lack of access to adequate ﬁnancing to grow and scale their businesses.
In developed countries, entrepreneurs who face ﬁnance challenges can often easily access credit to support their growth. Across Africa, however, access to credit is often a challenge for entrepreneurs, particularly for those operating in underserved communities. Financial institutions may be wary of lending to small businesses in these areas due to perceived higher risk, lack of credit history, or inadequate collateral. This lack of access to credit creates signiﬁcant barriers to entry and limits
the potential for business growth. Current ﬁgures show that 65% of African Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) do not survive beyond their ﬁrst 3 years of existence because they cannot access capital to grow and scale their businesses – a statistic that could be greatly improved if these entrepreneurs had access to credit-for-scale.
Advancly is a Credit-Tech company that is working to close the lending gap in Africa and emerging markets by innovating access to credit for aggregators who extend ﬁnancial value to consumers. Advancly empowers these businesses with debt capital and embedded ﬁnance, through which they can enable their ecosystems to access and utilise credit to grow. In short, Advancly is Powering Progress with Credit.
“We believe that, when used right, credit can unlock the potential of African entrepreneurs, fuel innovation, and drive economic growth”, says Lotanna Julian, CEO of Advancly. “Our ultimate goal is to inject $500 million in debt into creditworthy MSMEs in Africa and emerging markets by 2026. This is why we look to partner speciﬁcally with organisations who, like us, are working to build the rail tracks for a modern and more robust ﬁnancial ecosystem in Africa and emerging markets. Our progress partners are responsible lenders, who operate with a mindset that is centred around the consumer and their growth.”
Advancly has been in existence for two years and has, during that time, cultivated meaningful and impactful relationships with their “Progress Partners”, which they are documenting in a series of short documentaries.
“We believe very strongly in the power of storytelling and we intend to use it to build strong narratives around the impact we’re making and we intend to make through our work”, says David Oyawoye, Brand & Marketing lead at Advancly. “Numbers are great but we are also driven by real-life stories of the people we’ve worked with, whose lives and businesses have been transformed by credit.”
The ﬁrst instalment of this series of impact stories follows the impact of Advancly’s relationship with CredPal, a BNPL tech company pioneering consumer credit ﬁnancing in Africa.