Esusu CEO and co-founder Abbey Wemimo understands firsthand the importance of community savings. The paucity of financial resources available during his youth led him to turn to the power of the sou-sou, an informal, African-based community savings pool that provides fund-building alternatives to those without access to banks. Witnessing the transformative power of pooled resources led Wemimo and Esusu co-founder Samir Goel to develop that concept into a credit-building platform.

Established in 2016, Esusu is a digital platform that enables low- and middle-income individuals to build their credit and savings. It works by reporting timely rent payments to credit bureaus, so that consumers can gradually build solid credit profiles. Esusu offers a mutually advantageous solution for customers seeking to build on their credit and landlords seeking to place and retain reliable tenants. Wemimo cites the company’s ability to solve critical access issues faced by minorities.

“Esusu is at the forefront of paving a permanent bridge to financial access by providing financial solutions for people of color and low-to-middle income consumers,” Wemimo said.

Great credit is the gateway to greater opportunities. Often, low-income individuals face barriers to opportunity, homeownership, or education loans because of their impaired credit.

“The cost of a bad credit score can be over $200,000 in interest payments over the course of an individual’s lifetime. By enabling our customers to build credit, we allow them to qualify for cheaper interest rates, resulting in hundreds of thousands in cost savings that can now be put to use saving for education, purchasing a home, or another financial goal,” Goel said.

Esusu provides customers with access to better life outcomes. The concept has become contagious. Last summer, Esusu closed its seed funding round having raised $1.6 million. Funds raised will enable it to further develop its products and scale its operations.

Earlier this year, the company announced a partnership with Equifax, which will allow customers to include their rent payment history as part of their credit reports. The agreement will also enable users to frequently monitor their credit scores to assess performance.

The effects of Esusu are far reaching, in that its credit and wealth building benefits not only the customer, but also the economy.

“There are 45 million people in the United States without a credit score. Esusu scores them, builds their credit profiles, and will ultimately unlock over $3.1 trillion in untapped capital,” Wemimo said.

Indeed, as a solution-oriented engine of accountability and aspiration, Esusu embodies the spirit of the traditions in which it was rooted, helping members of the community, one at a time, to move toward a brighter future.

Editorial Note: This piece has been revised and updated since initially published.