MSMEs play a vital role in the economic development of African countries by driving economic growth and providing employment, accounting for 90 per cent of trade in Sub-Saharan Africa. At PesaKit we partner with MSMEs that share similar visions for an inclusive financial market that help Kenyans achieve better livelihoods, and develop financial solutions that better address the real world challenges faced by low-income households, enterprises and underserved groups.
Meet Naomi Kiiru, Project Manager and Operations lead at dijITali, a digital innovator creating new, sustainable jobs to positively impact the economy. dijITali strives to innovate by empowering hundreds of cybercafés across Kenya to provide the youth with sustainable jobs, at the same time giving other youth access to government services, education and job opportunities, and economic participation through e-commerce.
dijITali is also one of PesaKit’s super partners, they are our Brand Ambassadors for M-Pesa Agents in the community. We sat down with her as part of our “Partnerships with a Purpose” series, to talk about driving digital inclusion and innovation through digital centers.
Please tell us a little about yourself:
I work as the Project Manager and Operations Lead at dijITali. When you see a cyber café, you see them as a means to attaining a service, which is the internet. We see them as digital translators enabling entrepreneurs’ businesses and dreams every single day. I ensure that cyber cafes in our network are able to seamlessly join our programs, get equal access to our offerings and opportunities and provide them opportunities to actively participate in the network.
Our mission is to empower the youth and create employment through digital inclusion and of course, improving the quality of the service experience..
What are some of the challenges the cyber cafes face in their daily operations?
There lacks a structure which enables them to better manage their finances , ability to identify opportunities near them, limited access to business credit and lack of business management skills, among others. Their sector is not properly defined making it difficult for them to have a voice.
What is the kind of support small businesses in Kenya need?
Resilient financial management, mentoring small business owners on capacity building, training them to recognize opportunities to grow and secure their businesses, upskilling them to capacity building. They must also be trained in bookkeeping, business development, legal issues, human resource management, and marketing. It is also of utmost importance to upskill them in order to enhance revenue streams.
Why did you partner with PesaKit and how has it helped?
Not to mention, their importance in bridging the inclusion gap in the nation. Agent networks have always been a core part of the mobile money industry, but during the pandemic they proved critical as there was an increase in the demand for both cash and digital services. It is a well known fact that there are more mobile money agents than ATMs in Kenya thus, we’re all extremely dependent on them for our day-to-day transactions.
We felt Pesakit’s value proposition would be beneficial to the cyber cafes in our dijITali network, as it would give them another way to grow and secure their business especially through the challenges that the pandemic has brought. Our agents have been able to earn an additional income by selling services to their customers, they have been able to apply for the PesaKit loans to grow their business and they also now have the option to secure their business using PesaKit’s micro insurance services.
How easy or difficult was it to register as a Super Agent. Kindly take us through the process.
The process to register as a Super Agent with PesaKit was very easy and smooth. We decided on coming aboard as a Super Agent as it felt like a seamless way to bring more benefits to our network of cyber agents.
There is an option to register our interest in becoming a PesaKit Super Agent on the website, which we did. We followed the next steps with ease and once the PesaKit team had verified all the information provided, we received a Super Agent certificate from PesaKit along with our unique credentials to begin operating.
According to you, is enough being done to encourage gender inclusivity in the finance and business sector?
Strides are being taken in the right direction, but, we still have a very long way to go to attain gender inclusion. Sometimes, the importance of focused gender inclusive products is lost under the large umbrella of financial inclusion. Organizations and the government alike need to look at their opportunities, their schemes, their policies etc. under different lenses for different inclusion priorities.
Businesses can gain infinitely more when they choose to participate in strategic partnerships. No matter how successful your business is, the right partnership can take it to even greater heights. Whatever your business is, it is important to look for the right partnership agreement that benefits both parties. At PesaKit, we strive to build such relationships with like minded businesses that are, at the heart, working tirelessly to build an inclusive nation.