What It Means to Be Mission-Driven: Why We Founded OZÉ.

OZÉ is a for-profit, mission-driven business. But what does that really mean?

We created OZÉ because we are on a mission to end unemployment in Africa. No small task, right? But that doesn’t mean it can’t be done. And while there are many ways to tackle this issue, we believe the fastest, most sustainable solution is through small businesses, the lifeblood of economies.

Small businesses are an under-utilized asset in the fight to create jobs. Just imagine if every small business in Africa grew enough to hire just one more employee. With 150 million registered SMEs on the continent, that could change the course of the unemployment trend. We could actually solve this problem.

We believe the key to this growth is empowering entrepreneurs to use data. That’s why we’ve created intuitive management tools, designed specifically for the African small business owner, which will help them more effectively keep records and make data-driven decisions.

We believe that data-driven management leads to better financial performance and when this business growth is coupled by record-keeping, we can unlock access to capital, markets, and other critical resources. And, with a little luck, we can reverse the trend of unemployment in Africa.

More Profit, More Impact

But just because OZÉ was created with a social mission in mind doesn’t mean we aren’t also focused on generating profits. We also exist to return money to our shareholders.

OZÉ creates wealth and we do not believe that there is anything wrong with capturing a portion of the wealth that we create. Sharing the benefits means that investors will be incentivized to fund development, customer acquisition, and expansion. Private capital aligns incentives.

We don’t believe that profit and impact are at odds with each other. We know that the more effective our product is, the more impact we will have on our small-business users. They will make more money and, if we are creating a valuable product, invest a small portion of their gains into upgrading OZÉ to include more premium features.

If small businesses don’t grow, our business dies.

A Business Model That Scales

Our business model is freemium. We provide basic record-keeping, analysis, and business tips for free. As long as someone has a smartphone (and today more and more business-owners do), price is not a barrier to keep them from benefitting from OZÉ.

We also run free business seminars where entrepreneurs can become familiar with our product in person while learning from experts and from each other. We often partner with NGOs to deliver these seminars so that we make sure more-excluded populations, such as women or people living in rural communities, have access to our product and services.

We chose a freemium model because we think it’s the path to scale and because OZÉ will never turn away an entrepreneur with the hunger to learn and adopt tools to grow their business. This is what it means to be a for-profit, mission-driven business.

With our model, everyone can benefit.