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GreenRoot Case Study

A bit of background

This is Malawi
• GDP per capita = $268
• 75% of the population are subsistence
farmers with no formal employment
• One of the least developed, and most
corrupt countries in the world

And this is GreenRoot
GreenRoot Finance Limited was founded in
2012 by this lady, Stellah (who kindly put
me up for the month).
They are a micro financer.
GreenRoot offers individual or SME loans.
Loans to buy land, houses, bikes and cars,
and of course start businesses.

There are lots of micro-finance institutions
operating in Africa

But GreenRoot has a different approach…

1. They cater to different customers
The rich

The missing middle

The very poor

Teachers, security guards, factory
workers, farmers and entrepreneurs
with an average salary of around
$50 a month.

These are people currently entirely ignored
by banks

Without collateral (land) they are seen
as a risky prospect for a loan.
Without a loan they have no hope of
owning land/home. A vicious cycle that
continues to profit the very rich.

But they are the future of the economy

With just a little investment their
economic activity affects whole
They spend, build, employ, educate.

2. And GreenRoot is actually a profitable

GreenRoot has social aims at it’s heart. However, it also operates
as a profitable business.
They believe it is the private sector, not foreign development
organisations that offer the best opportunities for efficient,
sustainable, ownable development.

The brief

GreenRoot was looking to grow

They want to offer more loans.
They want to become a bank that
serves only the missing middle.
They want to have a bigger economic
But do so they needed to find more

And felt that funding should be domestic
The rich

The missing middle

The very poor

Rich Malawians.
Easily identified but
difficult to convince.

We discovered that the social good aspect of
investing GreenRoot was much admired &

What they are doing
for low earning
people is so
important for
Malawi. We need
more like this.

But when it came to the crunch investors
preferred safer options

You never know what
is happening with
money here. I only
trust banks with my

GreenRoot as a business was perfectly setup to answer both these needs

Strong socially
aims and

A profitable
business that could
provide very
attractive returns

But the brand wasn’t doing that justice

A brand that looked and felt like a
That did nothing to instil a sense of trust
and prestige in potential investors.
In short, it was all a bit confused.

They didn’t just need communications, they
needed an entire re-brand.

How will you get the
message out there?

With just 4 weeks and a small team in which
get it all done

Welcome to the new GreenRoot

The solution

Helping people is our purpose.
But we present ourselves professionally.

Our new purpose

GreenRoot exists to provide loans
that change lives for the
Because we believe that everyone
deserves the opportunity to
determine their financial future.

We are an innovative financial institution based in Lilongwe.
Our aim is to support the under-banked but economically
active people of Malawi – helping them to maximise earning
potential with access to bike, vehicle, land and business
loans. We also offer financial management training, to enable
people to make the most of their loan.
The loans are we offer are uncomplicated and fast. But the
change we’re creating is long-lasting and sustainable. We are
empowering people to take control of their financial future.

Moving away from
Micro-finance is a complicated and loaded term.
As we develop our brand and move towards a
future that sees our services evolve in to deposit
taking and beyond we need to broader term for
what we do. We believe ‘innovative financial
institution’ is the best articulation of this.

Our new

We created a motto, or strapline, that can be used across the business – on every piece of
communication from emails to brochures to the website. It neatly summarises everything
we think GreenRoot stands for.

GreenRoot, Growing Prosperity

Our new

‘Growing’ alludes to our optimistic and ambitious view of the future and our desire to keep
building and bringing innovation the market.
‘Prosperity’ references both the financial gains of both our clients and investors, and the
long-term social change we endeavour to bring about - a stronger, thriving Malawi.

GreenRoot, Growing Prosperity

Our new

A new

Their first newspaper ad