Founded by Fabrice Koffi, The Keiwa company has one mission: to change the face of the informal sector by simplifying small businesses accounting. Its success is indisputable.
However, the entrepreneurial spirit of Keiwa was not built in a day. Despite an initial failure,the Founder did not hesitate to bounce back.
How do you build your success?
We support the financial inclusion of African merchants. Our values are creativity, team spirit and leadership. We want to make things change. This requires the courage to dare, the innovation to change paradigms. Keiwa achieves its mission by providing simplified accounting for institutions and businesses. Keiwa was initially designed for only informal merchants, but the target quickly expand to all businesses.
What have been the steps since the beginning?
We have been working on this project since 2017. We have gone through several incubation and acceleration programs including Incub’Ivoir. We went through the Societe Generale Africa Innovation Lab. This was a determining factor in the creation of the first prototype and in the pilot phase. They enabled us to find our first partner, especially in Senegal with Manko. This is a micro-finance company that works with the informal sector. We went through an acceleration structure of the MTN group. Keiwa is a mobile application available on Playstore. We had over 500 downloads in January before closing the application to perfect it. Then we launched it again in March ; The sanitary crisis of Coronavirus and the various measures of security taken by the goverment slowed us a bit since we were compelled to close our offices. From mid June until now we counted over 2000 downloads from all over the world.
Where can we find your application?
The application is distributed in Ivory Coast, Togo, Benin and Senegal where we have partners. We have two major partners: Société Générale. The bank financed our researches and development.
We have MTN as a partner in Côte d’Ivoire. We have a contract of distribution with them. In Togo, there is a startup named Finlo that is also our partner. FINLO is into financing African VSE-SMEs by granting them loans – microcredit. There is a synergy between our solutions. We enable them to collect financial data and analysis about the businesses through our application. They analyze them before deciding potentially to grant a loan to a company.
We regularly update our website with news. You can check KEIWA.APP
What is your commercial strategy?
Our focus is on the social medias since most of the businesses that need to use the app are on them. We communicate a lot and we keep them updated of our various offers and opportunities.
We are also launching a sponsorship program. We have sales agents on the spot to prospect and investigate on what our target clients need. We collaborate a lot with micro-finance institutions. Our goal is to achieve a turnover of 150,000 euros by the end of 2020.
What is your worst memory as an entrepreneur?
As an entrepreneur, you experience intense emotions. I always keep the positive points so I can say there are ‘worst memories’. However My best memory is when we officially launched the application and had our first subscriptions . These are moments that are indescribable but it motivates you and makes you feel useful to the society.
Why are you focusing only on the good memories?
I don’t have any bad memories from my entrepeunarial journey. My failures are my greatest source of learning.
Nevertheless, my first business failure was the worst thing I experienced. That was morally and financially tough. But I learned from it. In the other hand, I and my former associates had opposite visions. But it was a great learning experience. Being an entrepreneur is my choice.
When you’re an entrepreneur, you continually man up and carry on.