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.
“We are offering a different 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.” He said.
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.” Osoro said.
The product 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 a 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.” He said.
APS Baraka Sacco was initially a Micro-Credit Revolving Fund Project under an Italian NGO before being transformed into a sacco in 2003, and now boosts of an asset base of nearly KSh 300 million.