Connecting Entrepreneurs Across 54 African Countries Through a Mobile Android Application
Built from the ground up, or from ‘zero to one’, Moja is a completely new platform that incorporates trade, network building, and training for entrepreneurs across Africa through a single application. Different from Western applications, Moja enables a continent of communities and networks to transact business locally and across borders, empowering entrepreneurs to build networks, learn new business skills, and access a full range of business services.
The founder of Moja came to CQL with a vision, a dream for a custom Android application that would connect African entrepreneurs and allow them to flourish by linking people, businesses, and organizations organically and easily.
He called this dream ‘Moja’, which means ‘one’ in Swahili. Distinct from westernized commerce models, the vision, with 30 years of experience in African businesses, would be developed with the awareness of how business is done on the continent – enabling existing networks already in place. With this idea of a fractal structure, acting as one, we designed a technical roadmap and business plans, brand identity and investment assets, then prototyped the Android application.
Moja was not looking for technologists, but a partner that would foster relationships with stakeholders and investors. A team that could develop a message, brand, and technical roadmap that would build economic unity for African entrepreneurs.
With over 83% of the people on the continent of Africa using Android, the team knew that forging a Native Android Application was necessary when reaching the business users. In addition, we had to create an application that would discern from Western applications by relying on Trusted Networks through a built-in support system.
A brand, strategy, and prototype for an all-encompassing Android application that enables African entrepreneurs to trade and transact through the traditional African barter system, connect across borders with other businesses, and learn through a combination of free and paid courses through Moja University.
Attracting Investors to Jump Start Moja Development
Alongside Moja leadership, CQL developed a full range of investment packages and deliverables to help this startup secure funding for the design and development of both application and brand experience. This included a vision magazine, a ‘trailer’ investor’s video, and a screen mockup that demonstrated the shared vision for creating economic unity throughout African countries. With some financial foothold, brand identity, and a technical roadmap, an application prototype was developed.
A Culturally Relevant Identity Designed for Trust
Moja [‘mòja]: Swahili for ‘one.’
We worked tightly with Moja’s partners in Ghana and South Africa to ensure not only were we creating a unique identity but one that could communicate clearly at the cultural level. From terminology to icon sets to a color pallet, the brand was designed, reviewed, and refined until we were confident it would connect with key target audiences throughout Africa. The three main pillars of Moja – Trade, Connect, and Learn – were visually designed to guide the user throughout all aspects of the brand experience from browsing products, starting conversations, and completing certification programs. It is an identity system with multiple layers unified to work as one system and to build trust among users. To ensure that entrepreneurs in the network could trade-on-trust, we developed an integrated “Moja Points” framework so that users could highlight their reliability across the trading, education, and network connections.
A Business Roadmap Focused on User Experience
The approach the roadmap focused around was the 1-3-5 method. First, we established the five-year market trends, then the three-year business models that would have to exist, and finally, the one-year work plan that would help guide the first tactics that would get them to market.
We facilitated work sessions to define features based on user needs in the initial launch market against business objectives. This resulted in a map of pre-launch and post-launch feature sets ranked based on importance and impact both short term and long term. Alongside the user experience and feature sets, we mapped out the architecture needed to ensure the system could support and scale as the Moja experience would undoubtedly grow and attract new users.
Delivering the Experience
The end product is a single mobile experience marrying a marketplace attuned to traditional African bartering systems to a communication system enabling trusted personal networks to grow organically and to a learning resource that empowers entrepreneurs to advance their business knowledge.