The Catalyst Fund Inclusive Digital Commerce Accelerator supported digital commerce companies building solutions designed to improve the livelihoods and financial resilience of micro and small enterprises (MSEs).
The Catalyst Fund accelerates the tech ecosystem by bringing together leading global and local innovators to form circles of investors, corporate institutions, talent networks, and other enablers, who commit to working with us to advance the wider ecosystem.
The Catalyst Fund Inclusive Digital Commerce Accelerator was managed by BFA Global. It was supported by Mastercard Foundation and executed in partnership with MEST in Ghana.
In Ghana, existing digital commerce solutions tend to exclude informal micro and small enterprises (MSEs), which had been hardest hit by the impact of the COVID-19 economic crisis. As a result, they had been unable to leverage digital commerce opportunities to fuel their growth and secure their incomes. The Catalyst Fund Inclusive Digital Commerce Accelerator scaled innovative companies that could enable informal MSEs in Ghana to reap the benefits of digital commerce solutions, with a goal of spurring the development of the wider ecosystem.
Companies selected for the Inclusive Digital Commerce Accelerator were identified after extensive research to determine existing ecosystem gaps and the key challenges faced by MSEs. Companies were then vetted by an Investment Advisory Committee composed of experienced emerging markets investors and experts in the digital commerce space in Africa. Members included 4dx Ventures, Acuity Ventures, Chandaria Capital, GoldenPalm, mPharma and Novastar Ventures.
Companies that met the following criteria were evaluated for selection
Preference for companies with current or proven desire to serve informal MSEs
Company has already raised a minimum of $100K from investors or is revenue positive, and serving at least 500 customers
Company has a product in market and is in the scaling stage
Company has 6-12 months of runway
Company is Ghana-based (or entering the Ghanaian market)
Company is offering solutions across the digital commerce value chain
Company primarily serves informal MSEs and workers between the ages of 18-35
Company can contribute to the goal of reaching 25,000 additional MSEs within 2 years
Ghana: While the country is making progress in creating favorable conditions for a thriving digital economy, existing digital commerce solutions exclude informal MSEs due to a lack of: effective digital onboarding mechanisms, MSE financing and interoperability across digital commerce systems.