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Micro-retailers are the new frontier for digital market place

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  • Online presence allows micro-retailers to scale without the need to invest in physical structures
  • The forum emerged from

 Lack of proper inventory records and low level of entrepreneurial education is hampering access to finance for Micro retailers in Kenya.

This comes even as it emerged that only 10 percent of local micro retailers have undergone some form of entrepreneurial training on managing their businesses.

According to Alice Waweru the entrepreneurship portfolio lead at TechnoServe, financial institutions don’t reach out to the micro retail businesses to understand how they operate and their financial needs.

Speaking during a Micro-Retail Stakeholder Forum held in Nairobi, Waweru pointed out that growth in online presence by micro-retailers presents a golden opportunity for players in the digital economy to avail records that are visible enough for financial institutions to develop an appropriate credit rating for them.

“We are calling upon the financial institutions to tailor financial products that are suitable and appropriate for our micro retailers. We realised there are a lot of financial products targeting SMEs but most of them are not appropriate for a duka owner” said Ms Waweru

Techno Serve has been championing for the Smart Duka initiative which begun in 2015, by training in Management Skills and fostering business support to these retailers.

From the forum themed “Spotlighting opportunities in the continuously evolving Micro-Retail sector” it emerged that the Smart Duka initiative, has reached over 40,000 retailers in Nairobi with a funding of over Ksh500 million over the five years.

A program that seeks to support micro-retailers and improve shops’ financial returns and growth since 2015, TechnoServe has worked with over 50,000 Micro Retailers located in Kenya, Tanzania, Nigeria and Cote d’Ivoire to improve their business management skills and provide links to finance and markets.

Micro-retailers with an online presence offer a promising channel to distribute digital products and services, say industry pundits.

Presentations at the Fifth, which was hosted by international nonprofit TechnoServe, found that micro-retailers are increasingly using online platforms to access credit, suppliers and sell goods, which presents a new avenue for players in the digital economy to distribute other products such as insurance and airtime.

“There is a great opportunity to earn income from digital innovations that provide micro-retailers to launch additional businesses to sell financial products and services such as airtime and pay bills earning extra income,” said Alice Waweru.

Other opportunities presented at this year’s Forum whose theme is “Spotlighting opportunities in the continuously evolving Micro-Retail sector” are in e-commerce, research, and lending.

“Digital financial providers have leveraged on digital innovations to reach out to micro retailers and offer mobile based loans whose credit score ratings are dependent on number and amount of transactions. This has accorded many micro retailers an opportunity to access credit which they otherwise wouldn’t access due to the informal nature of businesses,” she added.

The Mastercard Foundation, Citi Foundation, elea Foundation for Ethics in Globalization and Moody’s Foundation are other partners in the programme.

Additionally, TechnoServe found that technology in addition to formalization played a critical part in increasing the viability of micro-retailers during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Micro-retailers that were formalized and used digital products were able to better access finance, technology, and supply chains which increased their sustainability.

A TechnoServe study found that while 41 percent of micro-retailers that used these linkages in addition to capacity building done by the organisation saw a drop in revenues, this is lower than the 93 percent drop a similar study conducted by the World Bank had found.

 

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KBL launches corporate logo redesign competition ahead of 100th birthday in 2022

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Kenya Breweries Limited has launched a competition for the design of a new logo as it looks to mark its 100th birthday in 2022.

Dubbed KBL Still Got Skillz?, the competition is open to design artists from Kenya aged between 21 and 25 years and is intended to culminate in a next-generation logo for one of Kenya’s oldest companies as it marks its centenary.

Artists have been invited to submit their artistic impressions of how a Kenya Breweries Limited (KBL) logo would look like at www.eabl.com/stillgotskillz from November 29 to December 10, 2021. The submissions can be made by an individual or a group of up to four people.

The artists with the winning submission will win a cash prize of KSh1 million and an opportunity to intern at J. Walter Thompson (a Scangroup creative agency), where they will work with a team of experienced creative and advertising experts.

The second and third placed will each receive a cash prize of KSh500,000 and KSh250,000 respectively. The top three designs will be selected by judges after a hackathon where the top 20 will refine their submissions under the guidance of experienced professionals in the design world.

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Billionaires want to make money and will not invest in something because it’s good: Senator Sakaja

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Speaking as the chief guest during the 3rd Edition of the Association of Startup and Small and Medium Enterprises conference held at the crown plaza early today Senator of Nairobi County Hon. Johnstone Sakaja weighed in on why Kenyan Billionaires are not interested in Investing in Scalable Start ups.

Sakaja wants NLC probed for delay in issuance of title deeds to Nairobians

“Billionaires are not interested in nice things.They are interested in making money. As such they put their money where they see money can be made and where their interests are protected. They are not necessarily the good people who like hugging as saying this is a beautiful thing to do.They are sharks and if they do not see how they will benefit from a start up they will not have any interest in it.”

Speaking on how such Private sector players can be influenced to take an active role in enabling growth of scalable startups Hon Sakaja added.

“For such billionaires to invest in scalable start ups incentives by the cabinet secretary to include tax incentives and laws safeguarding such investor interest by the National Assembly should be put in place.So for the first 5 years such investors may be excepted from corporate tax or be entitled to some tax breaks.”

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Boma International Hospitality College on the spot for denying a lady graduation due to alleged sexual harassment case

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A section of lobby groups and education stakeholders are now demanding that Boma International Hospitality College to immediately ensure that one student, Jolly Gatwiri Mugendi, has graduated.

This is after it emerged that she had been denied her rights to graduate despite the fact that she had completed her studies.

The lobby groups under the umbrella body dubbed ‘Concerned Citizens Kenya’ argue that Ms Mugendi is being denied her rights to graduate because she refused sexual harassment advances by the manager of Estate Sonsira where she was undergoing her industrial attachment leading to a delay in releasing her attachment documents hence the delay to submit them to the College for graduation.

It is believed that after Estate Sonsira realized their mistake, they quickly released her documents but despite that, Boma International Hopsitality College still refused to have her name among those expected to graduate this year.

‘This is against the vision, mission and core values of Boma International Hospitality College, and also contrary to the Sexual Offences Act, a behavior that is unwelcome and offensive to the recipient. Denying Jolly Gatwiri Mugendi her right to graduate after completing her studies has created conditions that are intimidating and humiliating to her,’ says the lobby groups.

They further say that all the actions and atrocities by Boma International Hospitality College and the management of Estate Sonsira has made her suffer physical, psychological, spiritual and economical damage, shame, humiliations, fear and isolation’s trauma which includes numbness and headaches, depression, fear of authority, flash backs and intrusive thoughts, decreased self-esteem, introversion and lethargy.

‘We wish to state that all certificate, diplomas and degrees offered at Boma International Hospitality College are sexually transmitted. Students cannot get certificates, diplomas and degrees at the College unless a student parts with sex and that all the stated violations and abuses are happening with the full knowledge of Kenya Red Cross Secretary General Dr Asha Mohammed who is also the Director of the College, and Gina Din-Kariuki the Chair of the board of the College, Mr Samuel Irungu the Director Academic Affairs at the College and George Adala the Director of internship,’ they say.

The lobbies now demand that the College offers Ms Mugendi her Diploma and participate in the graduation ceremony that will be held this Friday failure to which they shall hold a protest march over sexual harassment at the College.

 

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