If you are a small or medium enterprise struggling to secure a loan for your business and are considering using collateral as a solution, there may be another option for you. SmartStock is an application that provides point-of-sale and inventory management tools for SMEs and self-service businesses, as well as an innovative solution for securing loans using your data. Founded in 2017, SmartStock is making a significant contribution to the Tanzanian ecosystem. Recently, as part of our “Promoting Impact Technology Tanzania” project, Media Convergency had the opportunity to interview the founder of SmartStock, Mr. Joshua Mshani, to learn more about his journey and the impact of his company.
The main gap is financial inclusion which is the main challenge of SMEs financial inclusion cannot be solved the capital issue for SMEs if they cannot control the stock, the SmartStock enables the business to control in stock which will enable them to know what amount a business should request for a loan that will restrict SME to get a loan by Collateral through using his belongings, for instance, Car, house and other properties. Mr. Joshua Mshani says He adds that “We want the business to be used in evaluation for financial inclusion. By saying that we created SmartStock software to collect data and try to understand SMEs”. The need to engage, manage, grow, and influences stocks of small and medium-sized enterprises through digital application was born out of Joshua’s shared experience with a maize farm owner when he was in his first year at university. He recalls, “I met a person who owns a maize mill and wanted to control his stocks while managing his sales and purchases in a more simplified manner with an access to all the information in regards to his business.
Investing in Smart Stock
Joshua shays, “There are two parts to the SmartStock venture, one part is through grants, as a student at the University of Dar es Salaam and in the year 2020, I was selected for the program known as Commercialization at CoICT and they ended up assisting me to open a company and buy initial assets for the business and as for now I use my own income and the revenues that are generated to pay for the saver. In addition to the grants and personal income, Joshua also shared that obtaining funding from external investors has been a challenge. He explained that many investors are hesitant to invest in a startup that is not yet generating significant revenue, making it difficult for SmartStock to secure the funding needed to scale up their operations.
There are innovations similar to SmartStock in the point of sales and inventory management however SmartStock main business is that they are able to collect data from SMEs and help in analyzing and understanding the type of their business and their requirements. Joshua says, “SmartStock is a financial inclusion in form of stock, which refers to supplying stock to SMEs, so there are many apps that exist in the ecosystem however they deal with point of sale and inventory management.”
SmartStock wants to go further with the data generated from SMEs to be used to provide them with loans, inventories, and all services they want to access without capital. He added “ For example, if you are in Makumbusho and you do not have enough capital in order to increase your products or items you will need to apply for a loan you will need to put a collateral but if there is a solution in the market that will use 3 to 6 months of your business and suggest an amount of loan you should get or what product you should sell why not go for it.” Because at the end of the day the supplier will give those items by credit and you will share profits with the supplier”
Achievements and Challenges
SmartStock has won the best innovator of the year in research work at CoICT, were also added as a startup at the NMB Sandbox. SmartStock addressed lack of capital especially in the marketing field and human resources as a hindering factor in their daily operations for marketing. SmartStock’s ability to address the lack of capital in marketing and human resources can help to improve their daily operations, making it easier for them to achieve their business goals.
SmartStock addressed lack of capital especially in the marketing field and human resources as a hindering factor in their daily operations for marketing “If I were to get the financial support it will enable me to set up a marketing staff that will be responsible in rising awareness for the SME and if I get two or one big supplier it will enable us to see data for a specific shop and supply goods in credit and the benefit will be in both sides SmartStock will then be able reach their targeted audience by providing stock on credit and connecting directly with the bank” says Joshua
The future of Smart Stock
SmartStock aims to become better and become the number one in East Africa application that provide business software, financial inclusion to SME, and for banks to be able to provide loans to SME’s by using the SME data. Joshua says “To become a tool kit for SMEs or anyone who wants to start a business I want them to consider SmartStock as a tool to help them grow and succeed in the ecosystem. In the next five years, I picture SmartStock being used by many SMEs, to be used as a normal inventory and a point of sale but mainly to be able to enhance big suppliers to provide credit and the banks to provide loans”
Joshua urges innovators to take risks and be bold in implementing ventures that can positively impact their communities. He acknowledges that failures are part of the journey but emphasizes the importance of having the courage to stand back up and continue pursuing one’s dreams. By encouraging perseverance, Joshua believes that more innovative solutions can be developed and implemented, ultimately leading to positive change and progress.
Joshua encourages all innovators to be daring and take risks when they are implementing a venture which will impact a community at large. He says, “When you try to innovate something keep on trying, we all fail but it takes a courageous heart to stand back up to accomplish his or her dreams.”
To read more about our reports featuring Startups in Tanzania https://bit.ly/ImpactTechTZ2021-Report and http://bit.ly/TECHTZ2022