Moroccan e-commerce startup, Chari, came out as one of the big winners at the Africa CEO Forum 2022. This was the first time that the forum was held physically since 2019 as the African private sector got a chance to interact face to face in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire.
Chari were awarded the ‘Disruptor of the Year’ trophy which celebrates startups whose activities are particularly disruptive and innovative. In this category, emphasis is placed on products and initiatives with major impact in terms of financial inclusion, access to healthcare, education, and energy.
The Moroccan startup was selected for the award after intensive discussions amongst the judges who were looking at five nominees from across the continent. Chari was nominated alongside digital healthcare platform Vezeeta, ride hailing application Yassir, logistics & delivery company Paps and agritech startup Releaf. The nomination was sponsored by Visa.
The panel of judges for this year’s awards included Hassananein Hiridjee, CEO of Axian Group, Elizabeth Medou Badang, Senior Vice President at Orange Middle East and Africa, Obi Ozor, CEO of Kobo360, Wale Ayeni, head of ventures at IFC and Veronica Ogeto, head of ventures at Safaricom.
Launched in January 2020 by Ismael Belkhayat and Sophia Alj, Chari is an e-commerce app that helps small retailers in French-Speaking Africa to procure inventory for their stores and get it delivered for free while benefiting from payment facilities.
According to Ismael, this trophy awards Chari’s efforts in bolstering financial inclusion, especially for local traditional mom-and-pop stores and helping them withstand competition from mass retailers.
Chari’s mission is to meet the needs of these entrepreneurs by ensuring them a regular supply of consumer products and offering them financial services. With just a few clicks, Chari’s app can be used by a local store to buy products at unbeatable prices while benefiting from a free delivery service in less than 24 hours.
Since its launch during the peak of the COVID -19 pandemic, Chari has been on an expansion spree.
In January 2021, while it was still a B2B e-commerce platform that fashions retailers with suppliers, the startup announced that it was seeking an investment to enable it expand both at home and into other French-speaking African countries such as Tunisia, Algeria, Ivory Coast and Senegal.
The startup is operating at a time when e-commerce in the continent has grown and the industry already has the trust of the customer. Companies that are getting into the e-commerce space have so much room to grow and expand all over the continent.
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