Even though African countries have re-opened their economies following the lockdowns that characterised the COVID-19 pandemic, there is still the need for help for the less privileged across many communities. As a matter of fact, help will be needed in the weeks and months to come, because the economic fallout from the pandemic continues to linger.
As you may well know, so many local startups/innovators and organizations have joined forces to help out community members during this time of crisis. Mukuru Groceries is no exception. Launched in May by remittance service provider Mukuru, the service allows foreign nationals working in South Africa, as well as any South Africa-based customer, the ability to send groceries to families and communities in Zimbabwe. Customers of the new Mukuru Groceries service can place orders for a basket of groceries that includes 21 staples, including mielie meal, cooking oil, sugar, salt and rice. The service is available via USSD and Whatsapp.
In this exclusive interview with Mukuru’s Chief Executive Officer, Victor Oluwole tries to get more insight as to how the service works. Enjoy the read.
Q: Could you please tell us about your background and your path to entrepreneurship?
A: I have a background in consulting and retail. Consulting was exceptionally stimulating because of the breadth of problem-solving it exposes one to, and retail was an amazing education in the practical challenges of decentralised customer-facing businesses, outdated business models and always only being as good as your last customer experience.
In my retail experience, I was also tasked, at points in my journey, with building new revenue streams; at times it felt like it was a bit like running in treacle because it was so difficult to disrupt the status quo and get people and organisations to do things differently.
Accordingly, I’ve always loved the idea of being involved in a business that looked to use technology to leap-frog outdated ways of doing things or solve problems in a value generating fashion for customers. Thankfully, the opportunity to join Mukuru on its journey, and live these ideas, arose.
Q: How did you come up with the idea for Mukuru Groceries?
A: Customers have been asking us for quite some time to offer them the ability to send groceries to their families (in Zimbabwe and other territories in which we operate) – especially during the lockdown period. It has been difficult for families in Zimbabwe to purchase basic products due to either stock being unavailable or fluctuating pricing. For this reason, Mukuru in a very short period of time has innovated to offer Zimbabwean customers guaranteed staple products at the advertised price of USD28…
To read the rest of the interview, follow this link to Business Elites Africa’s Fintech Edition, ISSUE 109.