Masoko; The New Platform for mSMEs

A few days ago I was at the iHub for the monthly Entrepreneur’s Forum hosted by Prof. Bitange Ndemo. It has been some time since I was last there and I felt like catching up with an old friend. I realized it is now bigger and better.

The last time I was there, it was located at Bishop Magua plaza along Ngong’ road. On that specific day, David Ocholi who is the cluster manager Eastern Africa for Maersk addressed the new form of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). I remember him vividly hinting that CSR had taken a new form in the name Corporate Sustainable Responsibility. Back then, Maersk was in the process of building a platform where buyers and sellers could interact freely. They were creating an online “gold data mine” for entrepreneurs.

Today,iHub is located at Senteu plaza along Lenana road on the sixth floor.

It has been time since then. I hope the project has reached a level where we can exploit it with other like-minded people in harnessing the benefits of such a platform. I will do a personal follow-up with David and share my findings on this platform.

So this time we were dissecting with Charles, the project implementer, the new idea Safaricom has already rolled out. Masoko is an African name for many markets. Safaricom wishes to exploit the E-commerce platform in Kenya and Africa at large. It wishes to do so by having a virtual open market where shoppers can buy their favorite products. I feel they are giving mSME’s an opportunity to grow themselves or even a voice to speak out.

The E-commerce sector is expected to grow rapidly. Beginning to think about E-commerce is a smart move for any business especially in Africa where the internet use is growing rapidly. At the turn of the next decade, chances are that over half of the African population will be doing their purchases online.

Masoko opts to give small business owners across the various sectors an opportunity to exploit their ideas and sell their products. It, in a way, takes over a lot of operations from a startup which leverages on the initial bumpy ride of beginning their journey. These include marketing, shipping, customer care and learning about consumer spending as well as consumption habits.

When the small business owner gets access to the data generated by Masoko, they can easily map their highly consuming regions per product and match production per demand ratio. At the same time, it opens up room for partnerships for like-minded individuals to perfectly ensure an all-round year supply of the goods.

masoko
Masoko has been already rolled out. It gives mSMEs a platform to grow their businesses.

I look at Masoko as local initiative that if well managed and used can really open up small scale producers to a whole world of consumers across the globe.

It means then that what David Ocholi was saying comes to play at this point. You could be wondering how and this is why. Masoko is a platform for entrepreneurs to exploit and use sustainably. It is not Safaricom to come looking for the entrepreneurs. Sustainability means that you show initiative as a seller to put the best and quality products on the platform. It is not about Safaricom, it is about us the entrepreneurs and Masoko.

I learnt at the forum that Alibaba had started to buy out supermarkets. I tried to reason vaguely at that move and realized that perhaps the supermarkets were not really exploiting the data they had maximally and Alibaba has decided to leverage on that.

Henceforth, they can turn those supermarkets to collection points and serve also as warehouses because E-commerce is the new trend. A lot of empowerment means that a lot of the traditional roles are changing and hence things will not be the same any longer.

Such an opening is here for entrepreneurs who see the importance of such an opportunity to tell their stories out there. Mutually the business owner benefits as well as Safaricom and also the consumer.

The business owner enjoys increased revenue and marketing services as well as customer management. Safaricom reaps with achieving their corporate sustainable objectives as well as revenue growth. Real time purchase and delivery saves the buyer a lot of time in traveling and doing the actual shopping.

So whether you are an artist, a manufacture, a service provider, a foods vendor, a fashion enthusiast, a publisher, a florist etc; this is your opportunity to build and grow your business.

Let’s us go Masoko and make our dreams come true. Let us leverage on it and reduce poverty as we grow our enterprises.

Copyright @ 2017

 

 

Geoffrey Ndege

Geoffrey Ndege

Geoffrey Ndege is the Editor and topical contributor for the Daily Focus. He writes in the areas of Science, Manufacturing, Technology, Innovation, Governance, Management and International Emerging Issues. For featuring, promotions or support, reach out to us at info@dailyfocus.co.ke
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