Tech & Innovation December 10, 2021 at 03:00 pm

A look at the startup giving African workers access to their earned wages before payday – interest-free

Abu Mubarik December 10, 2021 at 03:00 pm

December 10, 2021 at 03:00 pm | Tech & Innovation

FOUNDERS ALBERT OWUSU-ASARE (LEFT) AND AMEER SHUJJAH. PICTURE COURTESY THE GLOBAL VC

Albert Owusu-Asare is a Ghanaian immigrant and an entrepreneur in the United States. He is the co-founder of Cadana, a startup that helps tackle payday problems in Africa. Many countries in Africa continue to pay workers in a manual fashion and payroll is often processed once a month.

The manual style of payment poses a risk to workers as they could be exposed to attacks, fraud, among others. Also, it can leave employees vulnerable to cash flow problems such as unexpected expenses. This has led to the proliferation of lending institutions that are giving out loans to workers at exorbitant interest rates.

Owusu-Asare is quite familiar with this challenge in Africa, particularly in Ghana. This led him to start Cadana for small businesses and workers.

According to Forbes, Cadana allows workers to access their earned wages on-demand digitally instead of having to wait at the month to be paid with physical cash. When the firm started operations, it initially focused on earned wage access.

Cadana is akin to Gusto in the U.S. The platform can save employers time and money and give employees flexible payment options, the Global VC reports.

“Life is unpredictable. When unplanned expenses occur, your workers are stressed, unengaged and unproductive. Cadana Instant Pay gives workers access to money before payday – interest-free,” the startup says on its website.

Owusu-Asare and his co-founder Ameer Shujjah said they found that most businesses did not have an efficient way to pay their workers. “We quickly built a robust payroll software that allows businesses to manage and automate their payroll, saving them time and money,” they told Forbes.

They continued: “Wages are the biggest source of income for most people globally. So we think it is important to have a platform to streamline payroll for businesses in Africa similar to what the likes of Gusto have done in the United States.”

Owusu-Asare co-founded Cadana in 2020 and it is currently based in New York City and has raised a pre-seed round from 500 Startups and Better Tomorrow Ventures. The business operates in Nigeria and Ghana.

Owusu-Asare and his partner first met on their first day of college, at Iowa-based Grinnell. According to Forbes, Cadana has 60 employer-clients in Ghana and Nigeria and processes payments for 7,000 employees.

Owusu-Asare told Forbes that managing a team across multiple countries has its challenges. “We have learned from our experiences at and before Cadana that clarity of goals and over-communication is key to ensuring everyone is on the same page. We have also found that establishing a culture of documentation helps scale knowledge and keep everyone accountable,” he added.

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