The pandemic brought an unfamiliar situation to the fore. People had to stay at home and could venture out in only dire circumstances. This meant anything and everything had to be ordered online. Small businesses and mom & pop stores had to grapple with online orders and home deliveries, something which they hadn’t had to deal with before. Raising enough capital to scale and meet the rising demand became an issue.
However, Adeshina Adewumi came up with a solution to scale and meet the challenge with fiscal reliability. He founded Trade Lenda to provide digital financial services for MSMEs, supporting their growth and enabling access to market and finance across emerging markets.
Adeshina is a seasoned entrepreneur who understands that capacity development must meet a funding gap that exists in Africa. He has served as a Partner with Aptive Capital, a US-based $ 1 million porolio Fund Company commied to supporting entrepreneurs in capacity development and funding across Africa, with seven portfolio companies receiving funding between 2020 and 2021.
Adeshina is committed to driving posive change, promoting sustainable development goals, and capacity development through various programs in Nigeria, Africa, and the Globe. He is a member of the Nigerian Instute of Management, the Instute of Management Consultants, and several other associaons.
He actively volunteers to facilitate courses on innovaon and creavity for fresh graduates in partnership with the Knowledge Exchange Center; a Nigerian non-profit focused on bridging the knowledge gap of fresh graduates and creang job opportunies for all. He is also a mentor with the Tony Elumelu Foundation, where he supports various emerging entrepreneurs across Africa.
Adeshina Adewumi in an exclusive interview with CIOLook, shares his dedication to make Africa a leader on the global stage.
Below are the highlights:
Brief our audience about your journey as a business leader until your current position at Trade Lenda. What challenges have you had to overcome to reach where you are today?
Before venturing into Entrepreneurship, I had the opportunity to work in academia; then, I moved on to work with Stanbic IBTC Group within the Wealth Management and Bank subsidiaries. I previously founded One Kiosk in 2019 to support Micro, Small, and Medium Scale enterprises to achieve scale online. In 2020, we observed a soaring increase in the adoption of e-commerce channels among users due to the pandemic.
Supporting over 14,000 MSMEs at the me and seeing the gross merchandise value (GMV) growing from just less than $100,000 monthly to over $1 million showed the real potential of basic essentials commodities and goods via e-commerce.
However, with the growth in customers’ orders, MSMEs struggled to meet the corresponding growth. Could this be that MSMEs do not want to grow as fast as opportunities are available to them? A closer look and engagement led to the realization that most businesses were unable to access credit to grow even when they showed the capacity or had invoices to make some supplies that could increase their revenue potential.
By 2021, we decided to put all our learnings together. We formed a team with experience cutting across the Supply value chain, Retail, Credit, and Technology to make a difference, and we have never looked back since then.
Tell us something more about Trade Lenda and its mission and vision.
Our vision is to become Africa’s No1 Digital Financial service solution for Commerce and Trade, supporting MSMEs’ access to timely credit and other financial services to grow and create jobs across emerging markets.
Our mission is to develop fast, efficient, and inclusive solutions capable of driving financial inclusion for MSMEs across emerging markets and position us as role models and market leaders within the first five years of operations while building with the utmost professional and ethical standards and building an enduring institution.
Enlighten us on how you have impacted the Financial Services Industry through your expertise in the market.
Digital lending space for MSMEs is driving financial inclusion and delivering solutions to real problems faced by many businesses in Sub-Saharan Africa. My team brings our wealth of experience spanning over two decades across technology and the financial service space to provide timely and affordable credit for MSMEs in emerging markets to avoid missed opportunities.
Describe in detail the values and the work culture that drives Trade Lenda.
At Trade Lenda, we have built a culture of family, loyalty, service, and excellence. This encourages everyone to feel valued and appreciated. It drives innovation, outstanding efforts, and service to our customers and all stakeholders.
I am a strong believer in leadership by example, and as such, I maintain an open-door policy which allows members of the team to question any area which they feel needs to be changed to get positive results for the team. Every member is empowered to produce results.
Undeniably, technology is playing a significant role in almost every sector. How are you leveraging technological advancements to make your solutions resourceful?
We are a Fintech, so already fully digital and do not operate traditionally. We have built a proprietary credit framework while leveraging existing infrastructures and partners for underwriting our users.
What, according to you, could be the next significant change in the Financial Services Industry? How is Trade Lenda preparing to be a part of that change?
Trade Lenda is well-positioned for the next phase of financial services. Every sector today needs financial services in what we call embedded finance.
For us at Trade Lenda, we see this, and this is in line with our long-term goals to be that plugin to help various partners that we currently support and various manufacturers and commodity players offer credit to their customers using our API call.
Where do you envision yourself to be in the long run, and what are your future goals for Trade Lenda?
We are developing ourselves as the Digital Bank for MSMEs across emerging markets while providing credit for the underserved across various markets (developed and emerging).
What would be your advice to budding entrepreneurs who aspire to venture into the Financial Services Industry?
The financial service industry is robust and unique. Pay attention to details, cyber security, and regulatory frameworks. Build and scale quickly.