Sparkle launched in the fourth quarter of 2019 by offering a personal account that lets individuals save, manage personal finances and send payment requests with one link.
In the period since, the startup claims to have more than 20,000 customers and processed $16m in transactions. Now, they are taking their journey a step further with small and medium scale businesses in Nigeria, by offering a suite of digital payments and business management services.
Uzoma Dozie, the founder and CEO, says the plan for the new product is to provide “a one stop shop, to help individuals to launch their businesses digitally, while meeting existing SMEs’ pain points, and allowing them to pivot to the next level of success.”
“We have been afforded this opportunity due to our extensive research and access to data, which allows us to know what exactly SMEs are looking for. We are truly excited about the initial results from the beta test and are looking forward to impactful results for small businesses in the near future.”
Sparkle for business will have four main components, according to the company; inventory and invoice management; payment gateway service; tax advisory; payroll and employee management.
Taken together, the new rollout is designed for small business owners who are familiar with digital platforms. The pitch is to help such entrepreneurs control payment requests, manage single and bulk payments, track business performance, calculate tax filings and administer employee benefits.
Sparkle users will find the services on the existing mobile app, though it is only for those who have registered businesses in Nigeria. New users are required to have a Tax Identification Number and an email address connected to the number.
The team at Sparkle love to emphasise that they are more than a digital bank or a mobile app. “We are not a bank, we are a tribe,” is the screaming slogan on their landing page. They hope to be at the intersection between individuals’ and small businesses’ finance and lifestyle aspirations.
In theory, that means relying heavily on data from the user’s behaviour and broader industry trends to recommend what might be suitable for each unique user. But as with other digital-only financial services solutions in Nigeria, Sparkle is still on a product-market fit journey and it is still unclear when any of the contenders will attain that height.
Dozie says Sparkle’s mission is to “allow individuals to be free,” a mission that is not unlike another Nigerian digital bank Kuda.
Dozie was the last CEO of Diamond Bank before it was bought by Access Bank almost exactly two years ago. The bank was known for experimenting with technological leaps in customer delivery. With Sparkle, the first-time startup founder’s agenda is to create a technology-first environment that challenges the banking status quo.
“We’re excited to roll out our new products and services, and to continue to grow an increasingly busy and entrepreneurial group of business owners who don’t want to accept that banking halls and physical paper trails are the only means of conducting business in Nigeria,” Dozie said.
Chivita Crowned “Outstanding Juice Brand of the Decade” at MarketingEdge Excellence Awards
Dangote Group Reigns Supreme as Nigeria’s Most Valuable Brand
The Dangote Group has proudly asserted its position as Nigeria’s most valuable brand, achieving a remarkable aggregate score of 86.2 percent on the Brand Strength Measurement (BSM) Index, a meticulous evaluation conducted by Top 50 Brands Nigeria as part of its comprehensive 2023 Top Brand Perception Assessment.
During a much-anticipated media briefing held in Lagos on Wednesday to unveil the 2023 Top 50 Brands Nigeria list, the organization lauded Dangote for its unwavering commitment to excellence, which has solidified its stature as a premier brand within the nation.
The conglomerate revealed that MTN, a formidable contender in the market, secured a closely contested second place, boasting an impressive 85 BSM index score.
This year’s rankings saw Airtel Nigeria and Globacom securing the third and fourth positions, both earning significant BSM index scores of 77.9 and 77, respectively.
BUA Group made its inaugural appearance in the Top 10, capturing the attention of industry observers with a noteworthy BSM Index score of 70.8.
The illustrious list of the Top 10 brands further includes Access Bank, Zenith Bank, Coca-Cola, GTCO, and First Bank, each of which has maintained its exceptional reputation and resonance within the Nigerian market.
Commenting on the outcomes of this year’s assessment, Taiwo Oluboyede, CEO of Top 50 Brands Nigeria, said, “A brand is akin to a person, embodying all the traits that define its personality to the audience. When you hear a person’s name, you’re likely not merely recalling their appearance or attire, but rather who they genuinely are and the significance they hold for you.”
Oluboyede continued, “One may profess to be the best in the world and may even invest in extensive advertising to attract attention. However, the true perception of that individual is ultimately shaped by one’s personal experience. Likewise, the perception of a brand can evolve from favor to disfavor, or vice versa. This dynamic holds true for both individuals and brands alike.”
SnackFix From Bühler Adds Value to Local Grains in Nigeria and Boosts Food Security
The SnackFix small-scale cereal bar production system from Swiss technology group Bühler is the ideal solution for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to add value to locally produced grains in Nigeria and assist the country to address food security, says Manuel Murrenhoff, Managing Director, Bühler Nigeria.
On-the-go snacking consumption in Nigeria is rising steadily, presenting opportunities for SMEs to enter the market. “In terms of bars, fruit, and sweet snacks alone, this market segment is expected to exceed half a million tonnes by 2025,” says Murrenhoff. The main driver is the burgeoning population, estimated at 223.8 million in 2023, a 2.41% increase over 2022, and expected to grow to 377 million by 2050.
“The economically active part of the Nigerian population is quite sizeable and very mobile, which is boosting on-the-go snacking consumption,” says Murrenhoff. In addition, with half of the population living below the poverty line, there is more than ever the need to drive consumption of the full range of locally grown grains to keep final product prices in check.
“With the price of wheat projected to rise to record heights, Nigeria cannot possibly feed the growing population by importing wheat and other products. On the one hand, there is a shortage of forex and on the other hand, prices are escalating globally. That is where innovation, using local grains, plays an important role in food security, especially as these can be successfully incorporated into ready-to-eat foods,” says Murrenhoff.
Iyore Amadasun, Sales and Channel Business Manager at Bühler Nigeria, says that Bühler’s Snackfix, designed for food producers seeking a share from the on-the-go snack segment, promotes the processing of locally sourced grains for snacks while maintaining the highest food safety standards.
SnackFix is a multi-grain solution that allows SMEs to innovate across the spectrum of locally produced grains in Nigeria. The technology presents an entry-level, plug-and-play solution that is compact, cost-effective, and easy to commission and operate.
SnackFix includes a continuous mixer, a cooling tunnel, and a cutting system, all in one – everything needed for quality production. The combination allows SMEs to manufacture a huge variety of cereal bars at a volume of up to 130 kg per hour.
Customers benefit from Bühler’s experience in product development using a wide range of locally produced grains including, for example, sesame seeds, cashews, and peanuts. “We can help newcomers in the market achieve the best recipe to satisfy functional and indulgence consumer requirements in this segment and then supply them with a customised solution,” says Amadasun. In addition, Bühler has an innovation centre and laboratory in Switzerland to assist with different formulations and product development.
“The ready-to-eat market is of strategic importance to Nigeria, as it can adapt local grains for snacking consumption, promote healthy eating habits, and at the same time assist with Food Security,” says Amadasun.
With offices in Lagos and Kano, Bühler Nigeria is a leader in grain and food processing and offers solutions for grain drying and storage, flour milling, rice milling, cacao and chocolate processing, wafer and biscuit, pasta and noodles, feed, and aqua feed milling. Bühler Nigeria also provides support in the form of solutions for ink and coating applications and flexible packaging systems.
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