The Kenyan economy is, to a large extent, propped by Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs). According to the Sessional Paper No 2 of 2005: Development of Micro and Small Enterprises for Wealth and Employment Creation for Poverty Reduction, an SME is an enterprise with between 1 and 50 employees. However, according to World Bank, there’s no specific or universal definition of an SME. To get a clearer definition of an SME, you need to consider the number of employees in that enterprise and the company’s annual turnover.
SMEs in Kenya play a major role in creation of employment and betterment of people’s lives. Kenya’s blueprint and strategy for development, Vision 2030 aims at transforming Kenya to a newly industrializing middle income country which is capable of providing a high quality life for its citizens come 2030. If this will be realized, then the government has to make conscious effort to strengthen SMEs through increasing investment in science and development to boost their innovation and productivity.
Leading mobile service provider Safaricom has also come on board to aid SMEs in Kenya. The company yesterday rolled out a solution to make their (SMEs) operations easier. The solution, christened ‘Ready Business’ combines technology and advisory services to empower entrepreneurs to tackle challenges of a rapidly changing business landscape especially from the perspective of technology. Technology has evolved exponentially and while giant companies have been able to leverage on the dynamics of technology such as communication, online shopping, cloud computing, digital marketing etc, the small businesses do not have access to that same kind of expertise or exposure.
While rolling out this service, Ms. Rita Okuthe, Director, Safaricom Business said that “The Ready Business platform seeks to empower SMEs to become more competitive, more efficient and help them deliver better experiences for their customers through the intelligent use of technology.” This service marks a shift of strategy for Safaricom Business which is now more of a solution provider than a product vendor.
Under Ready Business Index, business owners will be able to measure their level of readiness and know what they need to improve their competitive advantage. This Ready Business Index is a simple step by step test that benchmarks a business’ processes against global best practices. The 18-step Readiness Index test has questions on
- The nature of your business
- Number of your employees
- Location(s) your business operates from
- Amount spent on IT and communications per month
- How your stuff works
- Kind of duties that make up an average day for your staff
- Kind of customers you have and their location(s)
- Frequency of getting work for your business
- Number of products/services you offer
- What your mode of communication is when passing or getting info from your staff and the customers
- Whether you have a website and your own business email
- How you keep track of your staff whereabouts
- How you receive payments from customers
After answering these questions, businesses will receive their Ready Business Ranking, along with solutions they can apply to achieve the best of class connectivity and payment capability. Another added advantage is that after taking the test index, businesses will have access to a consultant who can offer further advice on identified gaps and solutions.