We enable rural families in Kenya to buy affordable modern goods delivered to their door

See what we do

What We Do

Bidhaa Sasa means “Products now!” in Swahili. We deliver quality household goods to our clients in Kenya’s rural heartlands, for whom we provide in-house credit, making modern products accessible and affordable.

The Problem

Life for rural families in Kenya is no joke. The irony is that many suitable goods and technologies already exist that would ease their daily chores but they are not easily accessible to our clients. So, why do these goods fail to reach those who need them?

Read More

The Promise

We distribute life-improving products using direct selling techniques – by women for women – and offer consumer financing to the under-served and unbanked to make all products payable in affordable instalments. So, what makes us different from others?

Read More

The Plan

As a young start-up, we are flexible and innovative, enabling us to build a profitable sales model in an uncertain market. We work closely with our clients and partners to discover and adapt our business model. So, why do we think we can succeed?

Read More

The Problem

Most families use tiny kerosene lamps to light their homes at night. People travel long distances on foot to charge their phones in a shop. Women have little choice but to cook on the ground outdoors, with firewood they collected from ever-dwindling sources.

Women, in particular, spend more time at home and being tasked with most household chores like cooking or fetching water suffer most from such poor living conditions.

However, technological advances – solar systems that light homes and charge phones or efficient cook stoves that reduce expenditure on biomass fuel and smoke – whilst available in cities are not accessible or affordable to rural families.

Most manufacturers and suppliers do not reach as far as the “last mile” and consumer loans are not available to those who live off the land. Loans below $100 are not interesting to traditional micro-finance organisations, nor do they have the required product or distribution expertise.

There had to be a way to tackle both the access and affordability challenges and solve this distribution bottleneck.

The Promise

Despite their crucial role in society, women in rural areas are probably the most underserved consumers today in Kenya. We want to make it easy for them to get products that will improve their lives.

We have built our business around rural women’s current circumstances, needs and aspirations, combining retail and finance in a one-stop-shop. They not only form our core clientele but are also at the core of our sales strategy.

We developed a ‘woman-to-woman’ direct sales model to overcome their limited mobility, reduced awareness and lack of trust in new technologies. Our referral programme is a very cost-effective way to acquire new clients and by leveraging that same social cohesion among rural women we can offer micro-credit to groups of clients without preconditions or collateral.

This allows us to specialise in sub-$100 products that have the highest potential to impact women’s lives but are normally ignored by financial institutions.

Thus, we believe that we can both improve the lives of thousands of rural women, as well as provide empowerment and additional income. They are able to earn crucial extra money purely through their existing social networks without investing their own precious funds first.

The Plan

We launched in 2015 in Western Kenya with a dense rural population of smallholder farmers providing a fertile ground for growth. Following Lean Start-Up® and Customer Development® ideas, we tested and validated assumptions on products, client acquisition and repayment rates from the ground up.

Working with our customers, our distribution and finance models evolved during those 2 years to what they are now.

Today, 80% of our over 4,000 clients have been recruited by existing clients, making client acquisition and distribution more cost-effective and women-friendly than traditional agent-based solutions.

When defining our product range, customers test several brands for us and we incorporate their feedback in which to offer. Today, we sell solar lamps, systems and radios, agricultural tools, efficient cookstoves and LPG cylinders.

We are unique in providing sub-$100 products as standalone loans without a need for collateral or pre-existing lending relationships, such as top-up loans, and target the women in the households through direct selling methods centred around clients themselves.

Through tremendous client-focus we believe we can cross that famous chasm from early adopters to mainstream clients.

A start-up isn’t an idea put into action but a continuous journey of learning and agile adaptation.

Follow our journey

The Team

Meet the people behind Bidhaa Sasa.

David

David Disch

Co-founder and Director

David manages day-to-day operational activities in our two branches in Western Kenya, including staff development and supervision, stock and logistics management, and generally ensures that things are going smoothly. He lived in rural Kenya for 2 years setting up the Webuye office and learning as much as he can from our clients, which he still considers his most important job. (Why they make certain decisions in favour or against our products or services and bring these learnings into the company’s decisions).

He’s also a part-time driver and cook for the rest of the team, as well as generally a rather Unreasonable Fellow.

David spent four years at GVEP (now Energy4Impact) implementing programmes funded by the World Bank, the Swedish government, and USAID to improve energy access in Kenya and Rwanda. He set up their Rwanda country office, recruiting and managing a growing team of dedicated local staff to work closely with government ministries to support local energy enterprises – from solar phone charging entrepreneurs to international hydropower projects.

When he’s not at work you’ll find him on top of the nearest mountain: he was brought up in the Alps – he simply can’t resist them.

rocio-alt

Rocío Pérez Ochoa

Co-founder and Director

Rocío is responsible for managing the holding company in the UK, which has been set up to facilitate investments coming in, and supporting David in Kenya. She manages our financial matters, including our accounts, fund-raising and our back-end client data analysis. She ensures we’re not running out of cash and analyses everything from client data, repayment patterns, sales processes to our P&L or burn rate with nuclear precision (She’s got a PhD in particle physics!).

Rocío most recently set up and ran the financial arm of BBOXX, a manufacturer and distributor of solar systems, which has subsidiaries in the UK, Kenya, Uganda, and Rwanda. Prior to working with BBOXX, she consulted with other green start-ups in emerging markets.

She is also an angel investor with interests in companies involved in solar energy, biomass energy, sustainable forestry, mini-hydro projects, and social bonds. Prior to becoming an entrepreneur, she worked for the UK Government as climate change policy adviser and spent almost a decade working in the City of London in hedge funds (and now making up for it).

Part-time she’s managing her other start-up that includes the near impossible task of aligning interests of husband, kids and cat.

The Journal
Lots of new staff joining us this week. Exciting!

instagram

Lots of new staff joining us this week. Exciting!

blog

It is tough to raise funds in an immature market!

Dear ‘impact investor’, would you mind telling us what you want?

twitter

flickr

instagram

Lots of research on #womenempowerment and client satisfaction done by this team over the last 2 month! Great work! #leandata

Lots of research on #womenempowerment and client satisfaction done by this team over the last 2 month! Great work! #leandata

blog

A new year ahead with the looming question of how to scale in a smart way

Off to new horizons!

twitter

flickr

Read more articles

P.O. Box 555, Webuye, Kenya
info[at]bidhaa.co.uk