Cinnamon Clubs goes in a partnership agreement with UAP Old Mutual

Cinnamon Clubs, a Ugandan Information Technology solutions provider offering premier Investment Club Management software has signed a partnership agreement with UAP Old Mutual. The software that automates bookkeeping and investment efficiencies will provide comprehensive loan insurance cover and financial services to investment clubs, savings groups and SACCOS.

An investment club is a group of people that pool their resources on a monthly basis as a long term investment. Majority of these clubs are informal in nature and find it hard to access services like group insurance and investments.

We therefore saw a need to bridge that gap between the formal corporate insurers, fund managers and investment clubs, which makes the partnership with Old Mutual rather significant and beneficial to investment and savings groups.

In an exclusive interview, Dickson Mushabe, CEO and co-founder of Cinnamon Clubs said: “We are excited about this partnership that will solve a big problem for these investment and saving clubs. Investment Clubs are formed on the basis of trust, unfortunately some of these clubs have crumbled, while others have made loses as a result of broken trust. This breakdown in trust is a result of some members failing to repay their loans in addition to inconsistencies in the monthly contributions

There are many circumstances under which one may fail to repay their loans e.g. the accidental death of members, critical illness that may lead to inability to engage in income generating activities, retrenchment or involuntary loss of employment and the risk associated with the non-renewal of contracts.

With the introduction of the Cinnamon Insure product underwritten by UAP Old Mutual, clubs will no longer run the risk of losing their money which will be insured providing guaranteed reimbursement in the case of failure to pay. From an investment perspective the partnership will enable investment clubs to make more money through managed investment by UAP Old Mutual Unit Trust.

This is a good partnership that will definitely offer many investment options to Investment Clubs. It will bring an alternative source of income to the groups whose money is sometimes lying around doing nothing”: said Daniel Opiyo, Head of Agency, UAP Financial Services.

About UAP Old Mutual Insurance Uganda Ltd

UAP Old Mutual Group is a subsidiary of Old Mutual Limited (OML) based in South Africa and operates in 13 markets across the region including Uganda.

We are an integrated financial services provider in East Africa, leveraging off the strength of our capabilities in local expertise and the global group. We’re glad to partner with individuals and corporates to provide financial solutions including, General Insurance, Life Insurance, Asset Management, Investment and Banking.

Contact us: 0800132700  0707700903 UAPOldMutualUg

Dickson Mushabe, CEO and founder Cinnamon Clubs, pitching Startupbootcamp AfriTech 2019 in Uganda

Cinnamon Clubs selected for Cape Town-based accelerator

Cinnamon Clubs has been selected to face off with 19 other startups in the Startup bootcamp AfriTech 2019 Final Selection Days. Cinnamon Clubs is a software that helps investment clubs to track and manage their records.

To participate in this round of the prestigious accelerator, the startup beat over 2000 startups from different countries that had applied.

Of the twenty startups that were selected from across Africa, only Cinnamon Clubs came from Uganda. South Africa sent seven, Nigerian (six), Kenya (two) and the rest are from Togo, Senegal, Morocco and Zimbabwe (each of these sent one).

Startupbootcamp AfriTech, which is based in Cape Town, is an accelerator focused on high-growth startups in blockchain, connected devices, payment solutions, capital markets and asset management, integrated supply chain, e-commerce, retailtech, insurtech, alternative financing, identity management, digital connectivity, data and behavioral analytics and enabling technologies.

“I really want to thank God for this opportunity and for making to the top 20.This is a huge step in the right direction for Cinnamon Clubs to go global and be accelerated by one of the best in the world. Special thanks to the entire Cinnamon team for the tireless work to have this platform ready. I am praying for the best as we go to present in Cape Town” Dickson Mushabe, the founder and CEO of Cinnamon Clubs said

Cinnamon Clubs is currently operating in Uganda, Zambia, and Ethiopia.

On July 10-11, the 20 startups will be in Cape Town for the Startupbootcamp AfriTech 2019 Final Selection Days.

Officials say that during this period the startups will also meet over 2000 mentors and participate in “an intensive week allowing for networking, training, as well as pitching.”

The mentors, who range from corp-orates, ecosystem partners and VC Funds will be from across the continent, the US, and EU among others.

After the competition, the ten best startups will then participate in the Cape Town-based accelerator program, which kicks off in August and culminates in a demo day in November.

Over the three-month period, the selected startups will have the opportunity to scale at speed and seal pilots and proofs-of-concept with the corporate sponsors of the program and others.

Officials told media that they received a number of incredible projects and they proved that there’s more talent in Africa.

“The startups that applied in 2019 were exceptionally impressive and are significantly later-stage, showing more market traction than applicants from previous years. What’s more, the talent originating out of different regions in the African continent is astounding,” said Motlhabane Koloi, legal and scouting manager for Startupbootcamp AfriTech, according to Disrupt Africa.

Zachariah George, Startupbootcamp AfriTech’s co-founder and chief investment officer, said several of the 2017 and 2018 alumni startup had gone on to establish strategic commercial partnerships with leading institutions both within Africa and globally, helping them significantly in raising capital.

“There are high expectations for the applicants of the 2019 cohort, and if the caliber of the startups at this stage is any indication, this year’s program promises to be a great success for the African tech and innovation ecosystem,” he said.

Dickson Mushabe (L) and Wilson Cristancho at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona

Cinnamon Clubs names IT guru Wilson Cristancho to its board

Ugandan-grown software company Cinnamon Clubs has appointed seasoned IT professional Wilson Cristancho to its board as an advisor.

Cristancho, who has more than two decades of experience in the IT industry, having worked with global companies like Assurant and Ericsson, brings his expertise to a startup that is already operational in three African countries, namely: Uganda, Ethiopia, and Zambia.

Developed by Hostalilte, Cinnamon Clubs helps investment clubs to manage a number of things, including record keeping, collections, and managing members.

According to Dickson Mushabe, the chief executive officer of the company, he met Wilson Cristancho at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, which ran from Feb. 25-28.

Currently working with Network Media Communications as a chief technology officer, the IT guru is expected to enormously contribute the Cinnamon’s growth plans.

Before joining Network Media Communications, Cristancho worked with Resources Global Professionals, a business and IT consulting firm headquartered in California.

A holder of a master’s degree in Business Administration and a bachelor’s in Computer and Information Sciences from Barry University, he also worked with Ericsson as a solutions manager, heading a region that covers Brazil, Mexico, New York, Dallas, Latin America and Boca Raton. This was between February 2001 and December 2004, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Wilson Cristancho also obtained a certificate in telecommunications management from Miami University and another in management information systems from Miami Dade College.

Joining Cinnamons Club

Dickson Mushabe says he met Cristancho at the sidelines of the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. As they interacted during the social hour, Mushabe says, Wilson Cristancho was surprised by his dress code: He was wearing a suit.

So Cristancho asked him (Mushabe) why he was dressed in a suit at a gathering full of nerds that are known for slobby dressing.

“Why are you dressed like that?” Cristancho wondered, according to Mushabe. “Whom are you trying to impress? I just checked your social media pages and the Dickson I see is a freestyle Headmaster in either a Cinnamon or Hostalite t-shirt. Just be yourself, people will trust that simple guy.”

It’s this kind of casual conversation that drew Mushabe to Cristancho, who is also a founding member and sits on the Board of Directors at American Association of Colombian Engineers and Architects (AACE), and they ended up deciding to work together.

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CINNAMON is a product of Hostalite

Hostalite spreads wings to Ethiopia

Hostalite, a Ugandan web and software development company is celebrating another milestone with the establishment of its footprint in Ethiopia.

The company’s Ethiopian subsidiary was launched on June 4 in Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital where it is trading as Cinnamon.

According to a statement issued by Hostalite Cheif Executive Officer Dickson Mushabe, the company entered into a partnership agreement with MOSS ICT which will enable investment clubs in Ethiopia to take advantage of the premium club management software solutions provided by Cinnamon.

Developed by Hostalite, Cinnamon Clubs is a cloud based management portal that has helped several clubs and savings groups to manage their records and improve their efficiency in collections, activity monitoring, financial analysis and reconciliation.

Its features and processes are developed for a typical investment club, micro-finance institution or SACCO. It is fully integrated to cover all aspects of clubs management right from membership to
collections, penalties, meetings, investments, loan management and accounting (reports). Cinnamon eliminates the need for complex Excel sheets and bulky write-ups.

MOSS ICT owns M-BIRR, Ethiopia’s largest mobile payments solution provider. The partnership with Hostalite will enable direct collections of investment club savings from mobile money wallets to

M-BIRR is a mobile money service, provided by a group of five partnering Ethiopian financial institutions. It enables the banked and unbanked people of Ethiopia to conduct financial transactions from the convenience of their mobile phone 24/7. It is the only payments service to allow across-MFI and bank payments.

Speaking at the launch ceremony, Endashaw Tesfaye, the Commercial Manager for MOSS ICT welcomed the the partnership with Hostalite.

“This has been the missing ingredient in the savings industry in Ethiopia,” Tesfaye said.

He explained that the prevailing situation had been for savings groups to collect money and give it to individuals in a rotational format, and on monthly basis. With this, the biggest challenge has been record keeping and poor attendance of monthly meetings.

“The club administrator ends up having to move to the club members’ shops and residences to collect money in order to hand it to the month’s recipient,” Tesfaye said.

This tiresome and rudimentary system will now come to an end as a more efficient option can now be offered.

Ethiopia boasts of being the 14th fastest-growing economy in the world and is attracting a great deal of foreign direct investment. The challenge, however, is that over 40% of the economy is in the
informal sector. The limitations in regulation have led to difficulties like young people working in unsafe conditions. Village Savings Associations for the Youth are helping to transform the lives
of these young people.

At the signing ceremony, Mushabe expressed excitement over the fact that Africa is now able to use her own resources to find solutions to Africa’s challenges.

“Our decision to come to Ethiopia was in response to the many signups from Ethiopian savings groups in the last few months. The interest from this region has shown us that there is demand for the solutions that Cinnamon Clubs software has to offer,” Mushabe said.

The project is supported by the Netherlands Trust Fund (NTF4).

“NTF4 has provided training, support in identification of markets, fine tuning Hostalite’s export market plans, and fostering business linkages with international customers. Through their generosity, we continue to enhance our company’s export competitiveness,” Mushabe said.

“Our product is ready for any market as long as we find a suitable mobile payments partner,” he added.

Rotating Savings and Credit Associations (ROSCA)

Rotating Savings and Credit Associations (ROSCA) are among the oldest and most prevalent savings institutions found in the world and play an important role in savings mobilization in many developing economies. They are locally organized groups that meet at regular intervals; at each meeting members contribute funds that are given in turn to one or more of the members. Once every participant has received funds, they can either disband or begin another round.

Communities have developed organically in many rural areas of the developing world that lack formal banking services, providing another option toward gaining access to financial capital. Savings groups vary from informal rotating savings and credit associations (ROSCAs) to more structured accumulating savings and credit associations (ASCAs). Common to all associations is voluntary membership based on trust, full transparency, and the existence of a strong social unity between group members.

ROSCAs are based on seasonal cycles in which, once each group member has contributed to the pot, it is then taken home by one or more members, thereby negating the need for formal records. This model is well adapted to communities with low literacy levels and weak systems for protecting property rights. ASCAs appoint a group member to manage an internal savings fund and keep detailed records. After the group has agreed to an interest rate and loan period, funds are lent out. Once the loans are paid off on the fund, plus profit accumulated from loan interest, the proceeds are distributed to members. The group may then re-form, perhaps with some changes in membership, and a new cycle begins.

The more formalized and sophisticated savings and credit associations may request a business plan to be submitted in order to gain loan approval, and some aspect of business and money management training might be provided. However, the basic model always ensures that group members uniformly benefit from the process; i.e., there is no one individual who profits more than others, and above all, the associations benefit the whole village as funds remain within the community. Loans acquired from within the community may be used to purchase land or livestock, or even create a new enterprise, thus additionally contributing to the growth of the community.

In the absence of traditional banking services, participating in savings and credit associations is an excellent method for the rural poor to self-manage their finances and ensure a basic level of economic stability. Hugh Allen, a microfinance expert with over three decades of experience, states: “The very poor may, then, be best served by member-managed micro-institutions that can operate flexibly and profitably and can offer appropriate services at a smaller scale until such time as the economy grows to the extent that the pot of money and the scale of the average microenterprise are large enough to attract the regulated formal sector.”

The World Savings Day

The World Savings Day was established on October 31, 1924, during the 1st International Savings Bank Congress (World Society of Savings Banks) in Milano, Italy. The Italian Professor Filippo Ravizza declared this day the “International Saving Day” on the last day of the congress. In the resolutions of the Thrift Congress it was decided that ‘World Thrift Day’ should be a day devoted to the promotion of savings all over the World. In their efforts to promote thrift the savings banks also worked with the support of the schools, the clergy, as well as cultural, sports, professional, and women’s associations.

Representatives of 29 countries wanted to bring to mind the thought of saving to the worldwide public and its relevance to the economy and the individual. The World Savings Day is usually held on October 31 except in countries where this day is a public holiday, since the idea is for the banks to be open, so that the people are able to transfer their savings into their account.

The idea of World Thrift Day was not born out of nothing. There had been some examples of days that were committed to the idea of saving money in order to gain a higher standard of life and to secure the economy, for example in Spain where the first national thrift day was celebrated in 1921, or in the United States. In other countries, such as Germany, the peoples’ confidence in savings had to be restored since many of them had lost their savings in the German monetary reform of 1923.

After the Second World War, World Thrift Day continued and reached the peak of its popularity in the years between 1955 and 1970. It practically became a veritable tradition in certain countries

Nowadays the focus of the banks that organize the World Savings Day is on developing countries, where many people are unbanked. Savings banks play an important role in enhancing savings in these countries with certain campaigns and initiatives such as working with nongovernmental organizations in order to double the number of savings accounts held by the poor.


The sooner you start, the better off you may be in the long run. It’s best to start saving and investing as soon as you start earning money. The discipline and skills you learn will likely benefit you for the rest of your life. But no matter how old you are when you start thinking seriously about saving and investing, it’s never too late to begin.

The first part of a successful lifelong investment strategy is a disciplined saving habit. Regardless of whether you are saving for retirement, a new house, or just that extravagant dining room set, you will need to develop rigid savings habits. Regular contributions to savings or investment accounts are often the most productive; and if you can automate them, they are even easier.

Your investment decisions:

Once you begin saving on a regular basis, you’ll soon have to decide how to invest the money you are saving. Regardless of what financial stage of life you are in, you will have to decide what your needs are and how comfortable you are with risk.

Your goals:

What do you need the money for? The answer to this question will help to determine whether you want to put your savings into investment products that can potentially produce income for you, or that concentrate on growing the value of your investment. For instance, a retirement fund does not need to produce income until you retire, so your investing strategy should generally focus on growth until you are close to retirement. After you retire, you may want to draw income from your investment while keeping your principal intact to the extent possible.

Your tolerance for risk:

All investing involves a certain amount of risk. How well you tolerate price fluctuations in your investments will need to be balanced against your targeted rate of return in determining the amount of risk your investments should carry.

If you plan to hold an investment for a long time, you will probably tolerate more risk because you have the time to potentially make up any losses you may experience early on. For a shorter-term investment, such as saving to buy a house, you probably want to take on less risk and have more liquidity in your investments.

Investing for life’s stages:

Even though people’s views on investing and money are different, throughout their lives, most investors face some similar situations. Where are you in your life cycle? How close you are to retirement certainly affects how you invest your retirement money, but what about other life stages that aren’t so closely related to age?

Let’s say you are 45 and just now having your first child. You will need to decide how to balance your financial situation to account for the additional expenses of a child. Perhaps you will need to supplement your income with income-producing investments. And don’t forget that your child will be entering college right around the time you are ready to retire. In this situation, your growth and income needs most certainly will change, and maybe your risk tolerance as well.

Life’s milestones:

When you get your first “real” job:

Start a savings account to build a cash reserve.

Start a retirement fund and make regular monthly contributions, no matter how small.

When you get a raise:

Increase your contribution to your company-sponsored retirement plan.

Increase your cash reserves.

When you get married:

Determine your new investment contributions and allocations, taking into account your combined income and expenses.

When you want to buy your first house:

Invest some of your non-retirement savings in a short-term investment specifically for funding your down payment, closing, and moving costs.

When you have a baby:

Increase your cash reserves.

Increase your life insurance.

Start a college fund.

When you change jobs:

Review your investment strategy and asset allocation to accommodate a new salary and a different benefits package.

When all your children have moved out of the house:

Boost your retirement-savings contributions.

When you reach age 55:

Review your retirement fund asset allocation to accommodate the shorter time frame for your investments.

Continue saving for retirement.

When you retire:

Carefully study the options you may have for taking money from your company retirement plan. Discuss your alternatives with your financial professional and tax advisor.

Review your combined potential income after retirement and reallocate your investments to help to provide the income you need while still providing for some growth in capital to help beat inflation and fund your later years.

Keys to your investment success:

One of the hardest things about investing is disciplining yourself to save an appropriate portion of your income regularly so that you can meet your investment goals. And if you’re not fascinated with investing, it’s probably also hard to force yourself to review your financial situation and investment strategy on a regular basis. Establishing a relationship with a trusted financial professional can go a long way toward helping you meet your investment goals.