Tech

How Ghana’s TecHustle is building a small business network for global trade

Ghanaian startup TecHustle is building Africa’s largest small business network for global trade by providing financial services and market access.

TecHustle was founded in 2017 by Evita Grant, who is from Ghana but pursued her higher education in the United States, attaining Engineering degrees at both MIT and Harvard, followed by a Law degree from Harvard Law School.

The startup claims to be creating the largest small business trade network in Africa by providing financial services and market access. Its flagship product, AFi Payments, allows unbanked and underbanked small businesses to send and receive payments to, from, and within Africa in a swift, affordable, and secure manner. 

“Per the World Bank, over 44 million small businesses in Africa make trade-related payments exceeding US$400 billion each year, often using non-banking methods that are unsafe and expensive. AFi levels the playing field by providing these small businesses with enterprise-grade payment solutions,” Grant told Disrupt Africa.

Another product, Mansa Market, is a B2B commerce marketplace under development to connect African small businesses to international wholesale buyers. Grant said her desire to establish TecHustle was born out the pivotal need to aid African small businesses in global trade endeavours. 

“The idea for AFi came about when I encountered obstacles while attempting to send a US$1,000 payment from the US to a small business in Ghana. After further research, I realised the many challenges African small businesses face in both sending and receiving payments, not only within Africa, but internationally,” said Grant.

“Small businesses have very specific payment needs that are not currently being catered to. AFi consistently engages small businesses to build a payment platform uniquely designed for them.”

Today, AFi operates in Ghana and Togo, and is funded by VCs and prominent HNWIs in both the US and Africa. It was also recently a winner of the Harvard President’s Innovation Challenge, which recognises the most promising startups founded by Harvard students and alumni, securing a US$25,000 grant from the Bertarelli Foundation.

“The response from early adopters has been overwhelmingly positive, with about 60-70 per cent monthly engagement, and a waitlist of over 1,000 small businesses,” Grant said. 

AFi has a payment service license from Bank of Ghana, and key partnerships with Ecobank, Absa Bank, Togocom, and CinetPay. She said the startup, which currently monetises via transaction fees, plans to expand within West Africa and to key international trading partners such as the US and China in the near future.