2019 Young Entrepreneurs Awards winner: Emmanuel Emodek

Initiative: ChapChap

Country of impact: Uganda

The smartphone-powered platform that’s helping small businesses stay afloat

Half of all small and medium-sized businesses in Africa fail because of poor book-keeping, a lack of inventory management or bad business practices.

With SMEs accounting for 90% of the continent’s businesses and contributing to 80% of Africa’s employment, it’s a big problem. But Emmanuel Emodek and the team behind ChapChap are aiming to help fix it.

“As an aspiring young entrepreneur, I launched and ran three businesses which all failed due to cash-flow problems and a lack of visibility about our performance,” Emmanuel explains.

“It was only when my brother joined me as a book-keeper that I realised the importance of proper records to track how we were doing. When commerce means food and shelter for our family, it’s vital we get these things right.”

Bringing small businesses into the digital age

ChapChap is a digital platform that helps small businesses balance the books and keep track of transactions – all from their very own smartphone.

Rather than having to recruit a book-keeper or try to learn complicated new skills, it gives business owners access to affordable financial tools in the palm of their hand.

They can use ChapChap to track their inventory and manage stock, to avoid wasted spend and wasted product. They can also evaluate sales performance, ultimately optimising their profits. And by making everything digital, they don’t need to store reams of paper.

Better still, having reliable, digital business records opens the door to financial inclusion. That’s a lifeline for many businesses, giving them access for the first time to affordable credit.

So far, ChapChap has helped more than 5,000 businesses in Uganda to improve their performance management and increase their revenues. The company now aims to extend its reach beyond Uganda into Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and Nigeria.