Getting Customers

Clarion call to Kenyan SMEs to go ‘Mo So Lo’

Moses Kemibaro, Dealfish
Clarion call to Kenyan SMEs to go 'Mo So Lo'
Clock-wise: Joshua Mwaniki, Country Manager, Mocality, Kaburo Kobia, Project Manager, ICT Board Kenya, D.M.Gichohi, Kenya Revenue Authority, Moses Kemibaro, Country Manager, Dealfish & speakers on a panel at the Mocality Conference held in Nairobi

‘Mo So Lo’ (Mobile, Social, Local) is the way forward seemed to the refrain at the Mocality Conference held in Nairobi on November 28

The digital future is here. It’s just not evenly distributed, said Moses kemibaro, Country Manager, Dealfish Kenya. Addressing a day-long conference on e-commerce organised by Mocality at KICCin Nairobi, Moses said Kenya had over 26 million mobile users & 12 million internet users. This was reason enough for businesses to adapt digital technologies to further their businesses.“There’s growing appetite for local digital content & e-commerce is taking shape in Kenya. However, with the consumer growing more fickle-minded demands on convenience & service are on the rise. Businesses need to consider these factors while going digital,” he said.

For many in Africa mobile will be the only way to access internet since the number of computer users was still lower even as more people were switching to smart mobiles for all their major transactions, he added.

The conference set about informing and enlightening small and medium entrepreneurs on how to grow their businesses in the digital era. Lined up were diverse talks from various industries that have evolved into the digital era and would like to enable SMEs take the big leap. The speakers included Safaricom, ICT board, Kenya Revenue Authority, KCB, iPay, Uhasibu & Mocality itself.

Among the topics discussed were internet products and services for SMEs, online payment systems, and new technologies. It became clear to the SMEs present that doing business online and utilizing the mobile as a key business tool in Kenya has become imperative. What with 26 million mobile and 12 million internet users, there is no option but to join the band wagon.

Advantages of going digital

Outlined at the conference were the advantages of going digital. Digital business is proactive, versatile, fast, affordable, traceable and convergent. Surveys done have revealed that the uptake of digitizing business in Kenya is still on a slow rise. However with government involvement through the ICT board, banks like KCB coming up with online innovations and companies such as Kopo Kopo and iPay creating online payment and finance management systems, Kenya will catch up soon.

A key component in the presentations made was the use of the mobile phone as a business tool. The mobile phone is more than a phone; it is email, web, a bank, entertainment, a lifestyle; it is 24/7 marketing.

The question on why e-commerce isn’t taking off was addressed and the main reason is that Kenyans are still very averse to plastic money. However, the future is here and the digital era is taking over. Companies like mocality have introduced a new way of marketing and advertising one’s business through online deals. The ICT board is working on introducing digital villages and look forward to having at least one in every constituency. It will also introduce government shared IT services. Even the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) that was once a nightmare due to the long queues and extensive paper work has gone digital. Businesses can now file their returns online, hastle free.

Representatives from all the organisations answered questions raised by the SME audience at the end of each session.

Similar conferences will be held as per the schedule below:

  • November 30 at the Green Hills Hotel, Nyeri
  • December 3 at the Traveller’s Beach Hotel, Mombasa
  • December 5 at the Merica Hotel, Nakuru
  • December 7 at the Sirikwa Hotel, Eldoret
  • December 9 at the Vic Hotel, Kisumu

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