Asonele Gevenga is the founder of the student-led credit provider, Fleeker Finance, which won the Existing Business – Tech category at the EDHE Entrepreneurship Intervarsity. Fleeker Finance enables students to borrow cash with a nominal interest rate of 2% per month, helping them to start building a healthy credit record.
What led you to start Fleeker Finance?
We recognised that youth in South Africa and globally had no understanding of what a credit score is and how it can be leveraged for improving personal finances. With a good credit score, you can save on interest when buying important assets like a car or house.
What was Fleeker Finance’s unique selling point?
Our unique selling point was being student- friendly, something most existing brands did not understand. Since we were students, we knew how much, on average, students get per month as allowance and their struggles. At the same time, we understood that most students are ambitious and would love to acquire important assets when they start working, and most of them wouldn't be able to afford it in cash.
So, the combination of these aspects led to a unique selling point of small value credit, which is small credit that can be easily paid off and won’t leave anyone bankrupt.
We had recognised that youth in South Africa and globally had no understanding of what a credit score is and how it can be leveraged for improving personal finances.
What were some of the highlights of your journey with Fleeker Finance?
Reaching over 1000 students all over the country, winning the UCT Leopards Lair competition in 2021 and also winning the EDHE tech category in 2022 were some of the highlights in our journey.
What advice can you give to students and graduates wanting to start a business?
There is not only one formula that works. However, some things apply to most students and graduates. Most importantly, try not to risk your academics, at all costs. University is a great space to find yourself and starting a small startup or project while in university can help you to discover or build yourself.
Before starting, ask yourself these questions:
- What is the problem I am solving?
- Who am I solving it for?
Narrow this down as much as possible for your first release. For example, “We are targeting students in commerce,” or “We are targeting students who love watching certain content.”
- How much are they willing to pay?
Test this by selling a minimum viable product – surveys that ask people how much they are willing to pay do not help. You have to sell the product and see if the customers pay or not. If there is no willingness to pay, either pivot or shut it down and move on to your next idea.
- How far can this business grow with this market?
This depends on your ambition, however, if you want to increase outside investments you must factor in the ambition of those investors as well
How did you juggle studying with your work as an entrepreneur?
It was very hard, and I believe I did not do it well initially. However, setting a schedule is very important, as is doing things with intensity. If you sit down for a study session of two or three hours, make sure it counts.
Did your experience as an entrepreneur help you build transferable skills for the workplace?
Running a business requires skills, whether you are a student or not. So you are consistently learning skills on the journey and you are forced to learn them fast whilst striving to be proficient in them. Should you decide you want to pursue a career in corporate, the skills you have learnt will come in handy because you put in the hard work to acquire them and no one can take them away from you.