Kwara has opened regional representative offices in the Western, Central, Rift Valley and Coastal regions of Kenya. This is part of its strategic expansion plan in Kenya.

As part of the launch, Kwara held regional town halls in Meru, Mombasa, Bungoma and Eldoret to introduce Kwara in a personalized and open setting.

SACCO staff, District Cooperative Officers and SACCO members interacted with the Kwara team on a number of issues they experienced last year. These included COVID-19 challenges, lack of affordable systems and inconsistent vendor support.

Some of the issues discussed included mobile banking as a key product that would solve challenges of physical movement to SACCO premises. With Kwara’s mobile app, loan uptake across existing clients has grown by 300%. The SACCO representatives confirmed they want to give members control over loan application and balance enquiries on their phone. This would allow their staff to focus on membership growth and value creation through the creation of innovative financial products.

The participants discussed the importance of cloud-based solutions, especially those that are subscription-based. Many SACCOs responded positively, given that system affordability and security was mentioned as a blocker for SACCOs seeking a reliable management solution. Several SACCOs admitted they cannot afford to acquire as well as adequately secure an on-premise management solution, but saw possibilities in the flexible pricing tier Kwara offers.

Vendor support was also raised as a key issue that prevented a majority of SACCOs from fully digitizing their operations. Many had to shelve their SACCO management systems due to inconsistent or lack of technical support from their vendors, according to participants. Kwara mentioned that their cloud-based subscription model meant continuous improvement of the product, as well as cost-free support from the customer success team.

Within weeks of the launch, 4 SACCOs in the region signed up for the core banking platform and mobile app. Kwara aims to onboard another 20 SACCOs before the year end and is optimistic about the prospects.

In September, emerged top at the eight-week program that was held in Stockholm, Sweden, ahead of nineteen other startups that participated. The startup was one of 11 global startups selected to join the award-winning Start Path Program. Kwara was also nominated for the first cohort of the Ninja Accelerator program in Kenya.