JEMLA's Customized Platform Connects Dukas and Kiosks to FMCG Suppliers

23 May 2023

JEMLA is an e-commerce wholesale platform in Ethiopia that focuses on facilitating business-to-business (B2B) transactions. Its primary objective is to enable informal retailers to access a diverse range of fast-moving consumer goods (FMCGs) products. Founded in 2019, JEMLA serves as a connection between retailers, such as dukas, kiosks, souqs, and FMCG suppliers. It offers a dependable and cost-effective supply chain and distribution network tailored to the specific needs of these retailers. Furthermore, JEMLA provides additional support to help retailers expand their businesses, including access to working capital and various services. The platform leverages technology to offer data insights, benefiting both retailers and FMCG manufacturers and importers.
Co-founder Estephanos Zewdie emphasizes JEMLA's commitment to improving the livelihoods of informal retailers and their families while assisting FMCG companies in reaching a wider market. To enhance its offerings, JEMLA is integrating digital financial services into its platform, allowing retailers to sell services such as utility payments and airtime purchases. This not only generates additional revenue for retailers but also promotes financial inclusion in underserved communities. JEMLA has been selected to participate in the Catalyst Jobtech Accelerator program, demonstrating its potential for growth and innovation. The company aims to provide its partner manufacturers and importers with valuable data to support data-driven decision-making.

JEMLA was conceived when Zewdie and his three friends decided to start their own business after graduating. After considering various ideas, they unanimously chose to create a tech-enabled platform to streamline Ethiopia's fragmented supply chain and distribution process. Since its inception, JEMLA has gained traction in the market, attracting over 8,000 registered retail outlets in Addis Ababa. Its ability to offer a diverse range of consumer goods and provide a convenient ordering process has contributed to its success.
JEMLA addresses several significant gaps in the market. Informal retailers in Ethiopia often struggle with limited access to a reliable and affordable supply chain, competitive pricing, and working capital to grow their businesses. Additionally, these retailers face challenges related to limited digital tools and technology solutions, as well as restricted access to finance. To tackle the issue of limited credit access, JEMLA is exploring innovative financial solutions such as Buy Now, Pay Later services.

While several B2B e-commerce platforms have entered the East African market, JEMLA's main competition still comes from the traditional supply chain, characterized by multiple intermediaries like wholesalers, hoarders, and brokers. These intermediaries work independently, resulting in an inefficient and costly supply chain. JEMLA aims to provide a more streamlined and data-driven supply chain to empower manufacturers and retailers with greater visibility and informed decision-making.
The recent selection of JEMLA for the Catalyst Jobtech Accelerator program has provided access to grant funding and other types of support, further facilitating the company's development and expansion. JEMLA is also in the process of raising seed funding and plans to close by the end of 2023. While currently operating in Addis Ababa, JEMLA intends to expand to other regions and secondary cities due to increasing demand. The company recognizes the fragmented nature of the market in these areas and aims to address the needs of underserved customers. It is actively engaging with potential partners to facilitate its expansion plans across Ethiopia's cities and towns and achieve nationwide coverage by the end of 2023.

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