mPEX has evolved from the collaboration between RAVInvest and WebGate. Our experience over the last 15 years with networks of farmers, traders and small-scale processors in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, was gained by trying out ideas on the ground and learning by doing. Here is a timeline of the key milestones on our journey to mPEX.



2002 Linking Local Learners (LLL) a Peer-to-Peer Internet Learning Platform

Through LLL our networks developed and tested different ways to manage agricultural trading businesses in a continuous learning process mentored by RAVInvest. One group involved in this learning was a farmers' Self-Help group growing coffee.



Unleashing our Potential: Avoiding the Coffee Crisis

 

2005 The First Mile

As part of the First Mile Project to bring better communications to rural areas in Tanzania, RAVInvest set up the first private Internet Café and gained understanding of how vital Internet access is to rural enterprise.


2007 Market Access Companies
The power of market intelligence became clear. RAVInvest initiated Market Access Companies; these were marketing hubs in local towns in Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania, which supported the local farming groups to access markets at better prices.


2009 SMS and Market Information Boards
With the increase of mobile phone usage, market information spread further into rural areas. RAVInvest developed marketing information platforms receiving and sending price and commodity information between the main markets and the villages. AgriNet was one network that used this RAVInvest innovation very successfully.


2011 Building a Transaction Platform to Broker Deals
RAVInvest's Transaction Security Service (TSS) trading platform was devised by pulling together all the important lessons learned by the networks; demands for prompt and fair payment to farmers, quality control, timely delivery to buyers and transparency for all the players. Software designed by WebGate allowed deals to be tracked and mentored.


2012 Bridging the Finance Gap
To bridge the financing gap between farmers and buyers, RAVInvest developed a Cash-on-the-Bag financing system integrated into its Transaction Security Service (TSS) and used mobile money technology for payments to agents and farmers in rural areas.


2014 Launch of TruTrade
RAVInvest and its network of local entrepreneurs in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, established TruTrade to test the commercial viability of the TSS business model on a franchise basis. The TSS technology allowed small businesses to calculate viable deals, request financing and make mobile payments. All the entrepreneurs were mentored on the learning platform.

Value Addition for Farmways



2015 Challenges with Loans to Run and Scale-up Businesses
TruTrade's franchisees shared the challenges that small-scale processors have to obtain and manage loans to run and build their businesses. Plans for technology to resolve this challenge began.

Challenges for Growing a Processing Business



2016 IBM Connect, Florida Presentation
The potential of the LLL and TSS cloud technologies to support the financial inclusion of small scale food processing business was confirmed. In response RAVInvest and WebGate established mPEX.