Community-Driven Innovation



Mapping emerging and informal Nigerian businesses through crowdsourcing

Team Lead

Kamil Shafiq

Solution Pitch

The Problem

Globally, more than 1 billion merchants are undocumented, meaning that customers cannot find them, cities cannot plan for them, and entrepreneurs cannot learn from them. As a result, small shops are digitally invisible to customers, and cities lack the data to help inform the infrastructure developments to serve them. 

The Solution

Poket is an application that incentivizes people to crowdsource information about small merchants in emerging economies. The app prompts users to contribute information to the system and verify others’ uploads in exchange for redeemable rewards, which encourages reliable input.

Leveraging this crowdsourced information and GIS data, Poket generates free advertising, enterprise insights, and proof of existence for local entrepreneurs. It also provides customers with a wider view of their local business environment and consumer options. The result is a global map of previously undiscoverable retailers, which allows more of them to succeed—and which creates insights to inform city planning decisions.

Market Opportunity

There are over 1 billion “undocumented merchants” globally that remain unmapped, unstudied, and offline. 90 percent of these merchants work in emerging economies, where there is great potential for location analytics and enterprise retail insights to drive revenue opportunities. In Nigeria, for example, retail data is minimally available, often outdated, and expensive to obtain, costing $1.5 to $2 million for a nationwide retail audit. Poket crowdsources this data collection, providing real-time, granular data at a fraction of the cost.

Partnership Goals

Poket currently seeks:

  • Microfinance banks and organizations that can help inform small business credit-worthiness;
  • Financial inclusion organizations that can help provide new work opportunities for people once they gain access to digital banking;
  • Mobile money agencies interested in using Poket’s data to better understand areas of low penetration; and
  • Local universities to find campus ambassadors, hold activation events, build trust among young people, and help garner product adoption.

Organization Highlights

Some of Poket’s notable achievements include:

Existing Partnerships

Poket currently partners with several organizations, such as:

  • Ryerson Social Venture Zone, a collaborative workspace for social ventures in Toronto;
  • Trade Commission Service of Canada, which explores new clients and areas of expansion for Poket’s application;
  • Creative Destruction Lab at the University of Toronto, an AI accelerator; and
  • CCHub Nigeria, which supports expansion further into Nigeria.


Nearly 500 merchants in Lagos have been mapped by 50 field-researchers with Poket.

Solver Team

Organization Type:
For Profit

Toronto, Canada

Company Stage:

Working in:



Solution Team:

  • Abasifreke James Co-Founder and President, POKET
  • Kamil Shafiq Co-Founder and CEO, POKET
  • Naba Siddiqui Co-Founder and CTO, POKET

Economic Prosperity

Mapping Informal Nigerian Merchants

Solver Poket received the $25,000 GM Prize on Community-Driven Innovation from Member General Motors in 2019 to map emerging and informal Nigerian businesses through crowdsourcing.

Economic Prosperity

Mapping Informal Nigerian Merchants

Solver Poket, which maps emerging and informal Nigerian businesses through crowdsourcing, received a $10,000 grant from Solve in 2019 for being selected as a Community-Driven Innovation Solver.

Economic Prosperity

Mapping Informal Nigerian Merchants

Solver Poket received $10,000 in Covid-19 emergency grant funding from Member Morgridge Family Foundation in 2020 to map emerging and informal Nigerian businesses through crowdsourcing.

to Top