Project Everest

Experiment Results

[Experimental Results]: SoCon Fiji - Access to financial capital - July 2018

Experiment Design


This month we empathised with different segments to try and identify problems with access to microfinance in the Fijian market;

  • Farmers looking to acquire loans,

  • Women looking to acquire loans for buka stoves,

  • And people looking to get a loan to set up their own small businesses


Since this is the first month to operate in Fiji that is looking to provide microfinance, we wanted to start to build the lean canvas for these segments, looking at the problem. We acquired data on these customer segments by surveying over 50 people; identifying pain points that could lead to the ‘problem’. We started to validate some assumptions that we had over the month, but we still have a way to go with these.




Through empathising over the month, and in order for SoCon to have a valid place in the Fijian market, we needed to validate the assumption that Fijians have trouble accessing finance from traditional institutions, and we wanted to identify the reasons for this, and the factors that affected this. Our assumptions were that the barriers included:


  1. Lack of financial knowledge

  2. Physical barriers to banks

  3. Interest rates are too high




We surveyed 56 people this month from our three customer segments, and the following findings are most relevant;


Results for ‘farmers’

Farmers are a really interesting customer segment for us, and pertinent for identifying pain points for loans. The main barriers for farmers trying to apply for loans were, from our surveys (n=15), identified as; they were concerned about being able to make repayments (21.4%), they had a lack of finances to start an account (14.3%), and they had a lack of financial documents (7.1%). Specifically for farmers, it was identified from our surveys that their income is extremely variable, they had trouble budgeting and saving. This was also found in the 2014 Reserve Bank Survey, where we found that 65.5% of Fijians stated that we don’t have a bank account because they spend money shortly after receiving it. While the sample size of our surveys is far from significant, these initial insights give us an idea of the direction of our future.


Results for ‘small business owners’

The results for small business owners were similar for farmers (n=29), in that the main pain point discovered in our surveys was that respondents lacked access to finance due to the fact that they were worried about making repayments due to low income and savings (17.4%).


Results for ‘stove’ customers
The problem identified for rocket stove customers was that customers found it difficult to pay the up-front fee of $60 for a stove due to their occupations. In such a small sample size we didn’t identify many pain points that added value to the ‘problem’ for us.


Validated Learning:


Overall, while we did validate some pain points in various segments throughout the month, our sample size was not large enough to say with statistical significance or confidence that this lean canvas is completed. This result was not clear enough as we need a larger sample size to completely validate these pain points in the Fijian market. We validated that;


  1. Farmers are concerned about being able to repay due to variable income, lack of financial documents and finances.

  2. Those wanting to start their own small business are concerned about being able to make repayments due to low income and lack of savings.


Next Move:  


These are the things we need to validate next;


  • What is the reason Fijians feel they would not being able to repay loans.

  • Are lack of financial history and statements an essential part of these problems.


From this month we have identified the many areas that need to be researched further. In order to complete these validations and prove market fit in Fiji for various segments, we need to construct new data collection designs. We will be posting this soon, along with other future actions and how we see SoCon progressing towards these more robust validations of the lean canvas in a post soon. Stay tuned.


edited on 6th September 2018, 00:09 by Justin Hakeem

Wade Tink Jul 26, 2018

When you said “65.5% of Fijians stated that they don’t have a bank account because they spend their money shortly after receiving it” what was the sample size that you looked at?

When you said “17% of unbanked respondents stated that they didn’t have the required documents to apply for a loan” once again what was the sample size? Also, is that fact or is it perception? As in; would a lending institute reject them on the basis that they didn’t have the documentation or is it a self-imposed perception barrier?

What do you mean when you say “27% of respondents of Fijians are financially excluded”? How have you validated that? What is financially excluded exactly?

Your statement “When evaluating risk for customers with little to no financial history they either don’t have access to a loan at all, or the interest rate charged is quite high, 20-25%.”
20-25% doesn’t seem high in a developing world context for a current alternate solution- is that a reason for the customer segment to not apply for a loan? How do they describe that problem? Is it actually a problem?
How many people don’t have financial history? As %? Based on what sample size? Is that a component of ‘customer segment’ or problem?

Once again with “Rural respondents state that on average it takes them 42 minutes to travel to the nearest bank branch” is that a problem? How do the respondents describe that problem? Is it emotionally a pain point for them? Do the numbers mean anything conclusively? For example, I live in a developed country in an urban area and I have to travel around 20 mins by car to get to a bank, but I don’t see that as a problem.

“These factors lead to the inability for banks and microfinance institutions to accurately assess the risk of businesses applying for loans. With mispricing of interest rates, comes an inherent greater risk of default.” The problem you are describing here appears to come from the lens of the current alternate solutions- the flow on effect to your customer segment is lack of access. How is it that the customer segment defines that problem? Is it actually a pain point?

“From our surveys about a third of people who haven’t had a loan in the past state that that is because they haven’t felt the need for one.” Good insight- what was the customer segment and what was the sample size?

“About a fifth stated they were concerned about the ability to make repayments.” Why did they say that? Did they use the word concerned? Any other descriptions?

“31% of banked respondents stated that they save at home rather than use their bank accounts.” Why?

“18% of informal savers borrowed and lent money to friends.” Is this the same group as above^^ Why?

“People in rural villages with a bank account still seldom use it as they don’t travel to town that often.” For what purpose do they have it? How often are they accessing it? This links to description of customer segment.

What is the sample size and customer segment on all these learnings^^? Are they validated or hypothesis?

Reply 1

Jacob Minor Jul 27, 2018

Hi Tink, I have amended the post in accordance to your feedback. Thanks.

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Andrew Vild Aug 10, 2018

Status label added: Problem

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Justin Hakeem Aug 23, 2018

Status label added: Experiment Results

Status label removed: Problem

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