“The biggest challenge was getting started, it’s the self-doubt that creeps in when you’re doing something new that can be crippling,” says Sechaba Ngwenya, founder and co-leader of Creditable Co about his experience as a first time entrepreneur over 1o years ago.
Ngwenya, a South African who was born and raised in Botswana, first got the idea for Creditable, an online peer-to-peer lending venture when he was just 18-years-old. However he says because of his youth, inexperience and lack of startup capital at the time, the idea never came to fruition.
Instead, Ngwenya spent his early twenties as a banker, then developer and an advocate, but most importantly, he spent that period honing his entrepreneurial skills with his first venture EventAmi, an events company which handles invitation, management, online ticketing, validation, billing and collection.
Ngwenya’s hard work and perseverance would see the company achieve great success and he was able to sell it for a “substantial profit” last year.
‘Affordable, accessible, transparent’
It was only in 2012 that Ngwenya would be able to fulfill his original dream of an online lending facility, which he founded and also self-funded.
Creditable lends small amounts of money through the use of technology and personal social networks. It enables credit unions, lenders, businesses and individuals to give loans to their customers, employees, suppliers and family professionally in just five minutes.
Ngwenya says the aim was to make credit more “affordable, accessible, transparent and inclusive”, and to re-imagine and change people’s perception and behaviour regarding credit. Ngwenya believes he has developed a business model for fair credit.
Customers looking for credit create an account on the Creditable website and can apply for a loan using the company’s software. The facility is also available on mobile devices.
Despite an almost saturated online credit market which includes the likes of Wonga and Lendico, Ngwenya says the startup’s performance has exceeded their expectations.
“We’ve had a very fast take-up and exceeded our first-year targets in six months,” Ngwenya said.
“My biggest achievement to date is identifying a need, having the courage to start my business”
‘Eternally young and always hungry’
The 28-year-old describes himself as eternally young and always hungry. “I love life, its challenges and learning. My strongest asset is my imagination and my ability to solve difficult problems creatively,” he says.
“My biggest achievement to date is identifying a need, having the courage to start my business, the tenacity to build it, and the vision to take it to the point where I can support myself and one other person.”
As for the secret to Nywenga’ success, he says “I have a big circle of cheer leading friends. If I died today, I’m pretty certain the stock markets would crash and it would rain for at least a week… just kidding.”
Setting sights on Europe
Last year Ngwenya was selected from hundreds of entrepreneurs to join the United Kingdom Trade and Investment programme, which works with businesses to attract foreign direct investment into Britain.
And this year, Creditable was selected as a top 10 finalist in the international startup competition, Startupbootcamp FinTech. Other honours include Creditable being chosen from 436 Fintech startups in Africa, Europe and the US, to join the European accelerators programme. Creditable will pitch at a demo day in London where young entrepreneurs have a chance to present their companies to more than 200 investors, mentors and partners.