Kenya has a booming entrepreneurial revolution. The country is outpacing almost all of its continental rivals in the race to become a true hub for small businesses. Innovative Kenyans have been teaming up to produce globally-acclaimed start-ups in the world of finance, entertainment, retail, and more, with some expected to become major growth companies in the year ahead. Here are four Kenyan startups to watch in 2019.
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With an exploding middle class and steadily-growing levels of technological readiness, Kenya looks set to be the e-commerce capital of Africa. Online shopping already accounts for millions of dollars worth of revenue, with only Nigeria having a larger proportion of online shoppers.
Taking advantage of this explosive growth market is Sky.Garden, an e-commerce digital platform which helps traders to connect with the right consumers for their product. While they currently mainly operate in Nairobi, the company recently received Ksh. 120 million in seed funding to help expand their business across the country.
Be Afrika Media
The entertainment sector has been growing fast, with different opportunities presenting themselves for creatives to create entertaining content to capture people’s attention. One of the companies that have stepped into this space, is Be Afrika Media. The company creates innovative content for entertainment purposes and brand marketing.
They use cutting-edge technology such as augmented reality models used by Facebook and the latest live streaming technology used by existing entertainment giants like William Hill casino uses in their live blackjack games, to bring the best content to Kenyan companies. As well as filling a void in the emerging entertainment sector, Be Afrika also links up creative minds and fosters a community and business network.
Spier has the noble mission of eradicating youth unemployment in Kenya, which currently stands at around 26%. The aim of this startup is to use digital education to close the skills gap between young Kenyans and businesses. The vast majority of Kenyans graduate school without the skills necessary to enter the professional job market.
This is where Spier comes in, using their so-called “career accelerator” to train up members so that they can compete in the professional workforce. The company has already received huge amounts of funding from both the Kenyan government and international NGOs, which see the important work that they’re doing and want to help them thrive.
The majority of all trade and commerce within Kenya takes places in small retail shops, most of which are woefully unequipped for the digital age. These small retailers often struggle to keep their shelves stocked with the inventory they need, especially those working in dynamic and shifting markets.
Sokowatch helps out by offering an on-demand delivery service for over 3000 small retailers across Kenya, with which business owners can use their mobile service to order inventory as needed via SMS and have it delivered to their door the same day. They have also worked with major companies recently such as Unilever to keep their inventory stocked.
Perhaps the most striking nature of these hot Kenyan startups is their collaborative nature. With such a supportive business infrastructure developing, the future certainly looks bright.