Small and Micro Enterprise business owners and small-scale traders stand to benefit from a new stocking product rolled out by APS Baraka Sacco.
The product is open to traders and business people who want to access affordable financing options to stock their businesses and repay in a flexible interest rate of 5% within a period of between a week and one month.
“This is a product that is borne out of the understanding that many traders are forced to run to shylocks to stock their business and they have to pay as high as 40%,” explained APS Baraka Chief Executive Officer Thomas Osoro during a member education convention attended by more than 1,500 members in Nairobi.
“We are offering a solution to shylocks because we want our members to grow and it is impossible to grow in an environment where they are forced to run to shylocks. We want to offer them that quick solution because these are business people and sometimes the turn-around times for their needs are very short.”
The product is available through a mobile application or a USSD code (for members without smart phones) so it is a loan facility that one “is able to access without any third party intervention like the need for guarantors and such kind of requirements”.
“As a Sacco we are moving to a digital way of transaction where members are no longer needed to present themselves physically for transactions. M –Baraka plus is a mobile app with USSD integration and a push STK financial banking.
“It allows online guarantors between members. Members who have got no smart phones have the opportunity to access the services through the code *483*1111.”
The sacco, with membership of 10,000, drawn from its branches in Nairobi, Machakos, Kajiado and Kisii Counties has embarked on a transformational phase that will see the society fulfill the requirements of the Sacco Societies Regulatory Authority (SASRA).
“We are doing everything to ensure that we are compliant with everything expected of us by the regulator,” said, Isaac Gitonga, the chairman of the sacco.
“Our commitment is that we must serve our members better than we did a few years back and there is no better way to do so than through use of technology and innovation as the driver in that quest.”
APS Baraka Sacco, initially a Micro-Credit Revolving Fund Project under an Italian NGO before being transformed into a sacco in 2003, has an asset base of nearly KSh300 million with annual member contributions and savings hitting just above KSh181 million.
Among its popular savings products include shares/equity capital and a Christmas savings product, among others.
Other than the usual school fees and emergency laon facilities, APS Baraka Sacco offers a wide range of loan facilities like Inuka, Booster and Mali Mali loans meant to boost small businesses.