Balancing Income Inequality in South Africa by Empowering Entrepreneurs

The richest 1% in South Africa own 70.9% of the country’s wealth. South African entrepreneur Lungisa Matshoba realized that the barrier to card payment services for small businesses was one of the factors contributing to this problem. So he created a company to solve it. With Yoco, Matshoba enabled payment services for tens of thousands of businesses in South Africa, empowering entrepreneurs as a result.

“Our belief was that running a small business was hard. Getting paid didn’t have to be.”

Making Life Easier for Small Business Owners

THE CHALLENGE. According to the World Bank, South Africa is the country with the greatest income inequality in the world, with the top 1% owning more than two thirds of the county’s wealth. One of the main causes of this gap is the inability for small businesses to grow due to opportunity inequality. Entrepreneurs lack the infrastructure to expand their businesses and get stuck in a cycle of hard work with little payout or opportunity. Running a small business or startup is inherently difficult, but even more so when basic necessities like card payment services are nonexistent or expensive. With challenges mounting on a daily basis, the majority of entrepreneurs were unable to move beyond their starting points. Lungisa Matshoba saw an opportunity for empowering entrepreneurs and making life easier for small business owners so that they could start to thrive.  

THE PROCESS. Matshoba observed how hard it was for entrepreneurs to get access to card payment services to help grow their businesses. He realized that a simple solution to tackling income inequality in South Africa was by creating a platform that would make card payment services affordable and accessible to all. Economic inclusion and equality of opportunity were the cornerstones of his vision. He teamed up with three other South African entrepreneurs (Katlego Maphai, Carl Wazen, and Bradley Wattrus) and launched Yoco — a company that provided a simple to use platform that would help South African entrepreneurs start, run, and grow their businesses from anywhere in the country, even on street corners. He believed that in a mobile-first world, the challenge of income inequality needed a mobile-first solution.

THE RESULT. Yoco is an African technology company that builds tools and services to help small businesses get paid, run their business better, and thrive. Since launching, Yoco has powered tens of thousands of small businesses in South Africa with its payments hardware and software applications. To date, Yoco has helped over 25,000 South African merchants and has expanded to include a range of point-of-sale products. By empowering entrepreneurs and creating more opportunities for small businesses to be successful, more jobs will be created to help drive the economy forward.



Yoco exists to empower the growth of entrepreneurs in Africa, built from ground up to be different, to help small businesses make financial breakthroughs. Yoco makes small businesses top priority in order to achieve economic inclusion and equal market opportunities, proving mobile point-of-sale platform and card reader, to help small businesses accept card payments.

Mobile-First Technology


Empowering Entrepreneurs Through Mobile-First Technology

Harambean Lungisa Matshoba previously co-founded Yeigo, South Africa’s first free VoIP mobile services provider. Together with fellow Harambean Rapelang Rabana, H ’13, Yeigo was sold to a Swiss brand Telfree in just two years.

Matshoba went on to become Co-founder and Director of Technology & Product at Yoco Technologies. As a Business Science and Computer Science major from the University of Cape Town, he is a staunch believer that technology is the game changer that South Africa and other emerging markets have been waiting for.


Matshoba and his business partners identified an opportunity to make life easier for small business owners and founded Yoco as an alternative to South Africa’s expensive and often inaccessible card payment services. Yoco is for all the small business owners driving the South African economy forward. All major debit and credit cards are accepted, with no monthly fees or fixed contracts. The efficiency of the platform also decreases time spent on admin tasks, freeing up entrepreneurs to spend time on what matters most — interacting with their businesses.

“The world is in a mobile-first era; it is imperative that young people venture into developing mobile-driven solutions.”

Under Matshoba’s guidance, Yoco continues to expand. The company now offers business portal services and cash advances with no security or collateral required, so entrepreneurs don’t have to worry about using their assets to fund the growth of their businesses.



Lungisa Matshoba understands the value of being a Harambean:

“In the South African context, you often feel detached from the rest of the continent, so being part of a Pan-African entrepreneur network like Harambe is an effective way to making sure you have strong connections with the rest of Africa, through unique storytelling carried by each of our products and ventures.”
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