How Bento Africa is empowering businesses through world-class HRM solutions

A famous quote by Stephen Covey, the author of the 7 Habits of Highly Effective Peoples goes, “Always treat your employees exactly as you want them to treat your best customers. Bento Africa is helping businesses achieve that by equipping them with world-class payroll and human resource management (HRM) solutions.

Bento Africa is a business solutions company developing innovative solutions that solve the real problems that businesses in Africa face on a daily basis through its products.

The company’s products and services are for employers who understand that a well-cared for team is a competitive advantage and for employers who want to save time and cost. Bento believes that highly motivated employees will lead to organization excellence though increased productivity.

Bento through its payroll technology is helping African businesses shift from the mundane and manual payroll HRM process to faster and more efficient digital and cloud-based solutions. Most African business process payments of salaries, taxes, health insurance, pensions for their employees manually. This involves using excel sheets, a process which is susceptible to errors.
Bento helps employers takes away this time consuming process through it payroll technology which allows make these payments with just a single click.

“Building a business is an extremely challenging journey anywhere, but even more so in our part of the world. This is why at Bento, we will always be in beta, not just looking for how to improve our core solutions, but also to continue creating new solutions that adapt to an ever-changing business environment and the new complexities that come with it,” Ebun Okubanjo, Co-founder and CEO of Bento said.

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The company has processed over $40 million in payroll for over 700 active Nigerian businesses since launching in 2019.
Through its payroll process, the company has being strategically positioned to be plugged to all banks, pension funds and tax system, giving it access to data on thousands of employees which helps to solve the problem to credit access.

Most employees are unable to cover their basic needs like rent and school fees and are starved of credit solutions to solve this problem. For instance, an average employee in Nigeria and United States of America both earn $24, 000 (N10 million) a year. Each month, they get $2000 (N833, 000) and both have to buy a car of $36,000 (N15 million). The employee in the USA who lives on a credit system would find it easier to buy a car than an employee living in Nigeria without a credit system.

This is because the lenders or service provider in the USA can look at the employee’s credit records and know that based on the yearly pay, the employee can pay a certain amount monthly over a number of years to complete payment. However, in a county like Nigeria, most services have to be paid immediately which means most employees will have to borrow to maintain the same lifestyle.

Bento is making an attempt to solve this problem by partnering with companies like Schoolable, a Nigerian edtech start-up. Schoolable provides stakeholders of K-12 schools access to credit. In essence, they help parents pay the bulk tuition of their children while they pay back every month with interest.

With the end-to-end API integration of both platforms, employees who use the Bento app can access Schoolable’s services. For instance, an employee who earns N200,000 monthly and need to pay a rent of N300,000 annually can subscribe to schoolable and pay N30,000 monthly via Bento.
Another company Bento is partnering with is Kwaba, a rental property platform that gives instant loans for customers to pay for home in convenient instalments. This is beneficially especially with millions of Nigerians living in rented apartments and spending almost half of their income on rent payment.

Bento Africa was founded by Ebun Okubanjo and Chidozie Okonkwo in 2016 but it was called Verifi. It was a payroll and HR platform to help companies in Nigeria manage their employees’ salaries.
In 2019, after observing that employee’s salary was a multi-faceted point of convergence in their life where a lot of things happen, then they name was changed to Bento. This was because the founders wanted their services to expand beyond just pension, healthcare, and taxes.
The company plans to expand its operations to other regions across the continent.

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