Written Evidence Submitted by TradeDepot Inc (a BII Investee)



2 February 2023


Sarah Champion MP Chair

International Development Committee

House of Commons


RE: Investment for Development - What current investments does BII hold?


Dear Sarah Champion

I am writing on behalf of TradeDepot, an investee of the BII, to share the impact of our work and highlight the crucial role that BII plays in supporting our mission.

TradeDepot provides access to inventory and financing to over 120,000 small retail businesses in Africa through our B2B eCommerce and Embedded Finance platform.

We are committed to building the future of distribution in Africa, making food and supplies accessible and affordable for even the most remote consumers on the continent, and improving livelihoods for millions of largely women retail store owners.


TradeDepot drives inclusion and productivity for informal retailers and suppliers. The former UK Minister for Africa, Vicky Ford MP, during her visit to TradeDepot’s facilities in Lagos, Nigeria in February 2022, commented:

“What it is really doing is helping tens of thousands of small businesses, mostly women, mums, to absolutely run their own businesses, be independent, create their own lives and prosperity, put their kids through school, etc. And what you are doing is you’ve offered those women traders especially, the chance to have a really efficient, safe way of stocking their stores; they can get on the app, order what they need and get it delivered to their stores so they can focus on running their shops. Brilliant use of technology”

  1. Gender Inclusion

Women play a pivotal role in driving economies across Africa, but lack of access to capital, limited market linkages, cultural norms and other challenges often prevent them from achieving the success they want.

       Over 85% of SME Retailers serviced by TradeDepot are Female-Owned Businesses, and the access to inventory and affordable capital TradeDepot provides helps to build stronger women-led SME retailer and distributor networks, which will support these businesses to become drivers of economic growth in their communities.

       These predominantly low income level retailers and distributors get access to opportunity through digitization on TradeDepot’s platform and are able to climb the socio-economic ladder with up to 150% increases in their sales volumes and over 40% improvements in their margins

       TradeDepot provides financial literacy training to small retail businesses through our digital platforms, developing core financial skills that enable these MSMEs build sustainability into their businesses

2.  Productivity for Informal Retailers

       TradeDepot, through its B2B eCommerce platform, provides price transparency to informal retailers, ultimately leading to significant price reduction and cost savings

       Direct-to-store delivery to retail store owners saves them having to travel to different gray markets to look for inventory, increasing sales time, sales volumes and margins

       TradeDepot delivers economic enablement by lubricating the supply chain


  1. Supply Chain Aggregation

TradeDepot's innovative approach to supply chain management has a major impact on reducing CO2 emissions, which contributes to the fight against climate change. By aggregating the supply side players, TradeDepot reduces the number of trucks needed to make deliveries to retail stores. Before TradeDepot, different suppliers would handle their own deliveries, resulting in multiple trucks making separate trips to the same retail stores. With TradeDepot, these deliveries are now centrally managed and aggregated into one facility, significantly reducing the number of trucks on the road.

  1. Optimized Truck Utilization

By using technology for automatic route planning and dispatch, TradeDepot has improved the efficiency of its delivery operations, leading to a decrease in the number of trucks required for each delivery. As a result, the carbon footprint of TradeDepot's operations has been significantly reduced, with estimates showing a decrease in CO2 emissions in the range of 30-40% vs traditional operators

  1. Improved Resource Allocation & Visibility

TradeDepot's technology-driven approach to supply chain management has also led to more efficient resource allocation, providing clear visibility into sales and distribution activities. This allows TradeDepot to make informed decisions about the most environmentally-friendly delivery options, further reducing its carbon footprint.




       BII has been very instrumental in the success of TradeDepot from its early investment of $5 million through one of its co-investment vehicles, further catalyzing an additional $5 million in capital from one of BII’s investee funds - Novastar Ventures. This investment into TradeDepot’s Series B funding round has been used to

       expand TradeDepot’s inventory finance scheme from a pilot of <1,000 MSME retailers to a user base of over 40,000 pre-approved retailers

       catalyze additional debt capital of $75million from private institutional credit investors for on-lending to MSMEs in Africa

       drive expansion of TradeDepot’s B2B eCommerce platform into new geographies

       BII has also been very instrumental in forging key strategic partnerships that have been of immense benefit to the TradeDepot agenda, including frequent engagement by local BII missions resident in TradeDepot’s active markets to connect the company to relevant suppliers, potential partners and other industry stakeholders.

       Trade facilitation with British manufacturers to connect them to the local retail ecosystem and enable market access for their products to consumers in key African markets



Best wishes



Onyekachi Izukanne

CEO, TradeDepot