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How Nigeria’s Flex Finance Helps Small Businesses To Better Manage Their Finances

Startups

Aug. 10, 2020, 3:05 p.m.

Solo entrepreneurs and SMEs can better manage and track their daily business expenses and finance through Nigerian fintech startup Flex Finance.

The fintech startup is building a mobile ecosystem equipped with an intuitive user interface that allows businesses to digitise their daily operations and easily operate the app with little-to-no financial knowledge.

The goal of the company, which was formed in September 2019, is to help micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) become smarter and more profitable.

Flex was born out of the Company Builder initiative launched by Accion Venture Lab, which is aimed at building inclusive fintech startups from scratch to reach the millions of financially underserved Nigerians.

The second programme concluded late last year, and Flex was the overall winner, bagging US$100,000 in funding and technical support from Accion Venture Lab.

Yemi Olulana the CEO, expressed that they spoke to over 50 business owners during the program and from there they discovered that businesses had problems keeping track of their expenses and they admitted it was greatly affecting them negatively.

He further added that their processes were largely manual and paper-based, resulting in inefficiency and wastage, and with that, Flex was born.

The market the startup addresses is large. SMEs account for over 65% economic activity in Nigeria, but need help, with more than half of such businesses failing within three years.

A research on the part of the company revealed poor financial management as the root cause of such failures leading to their exclusion from essential financial services like loans and insurance, and ultimately sudden death.

Flex aims to prevent such deaths, and after taking in a further US$200,000 in funding in the first half of this year is already being used by over 1,500 MSMEs. This is only in Nigeria for now, but the startup does have plans to expand.

Flex, which also plans to add to its product offering over the next few months, charges customers a monthly subscription to use its platform, and has seen strong uptake even in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The mobile app was released during the COVID-19, with a lot of SMEs experiencing the strain of the lockdown and enforced social distancing. However, they were able to get 1000 businesses onboard in their first month.

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Verny Joy Author

Verny loves to write poetry, fiction and quotes. Her love for writing landed her in journalism. She loves gadgets and travelling to explore new places.

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