Inside Safaricom’s forums for small traders and how you can attend one this Thursday

Wednesday May 22 2024

Entrepreneurship and more specifically Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises play a critical role in job creation and poverty reduction. PHOTO | COURTESY

Mr Matano is a Nairobi-based businessman who is keen to use the latest technology to stay competitive.

Entrepreneurs like Mr Matano, not only here in Kenya but across Africa are experiencing a shift, marked by a growing desire to start, grow, and scale their businesses.

They are increasingly recognising the diverse range of opportunities present for them.

Unfortunately, majority are not able to take full advantage of the opportunities present due to varied reasons, such as lack of access to markets, regulatory barriers, competition, a lack of online marketing skills, and challenges in creating a strong brand presence among others.

For Mr Matano, he has been able to overcome some of these challenges by tapping into the products and services that Safaricom Business offers for micro and small enterprises (MSEs), like the labour outsourcing business he runs.

As a purpose-led technology company, Safaricom uses technology to empower Kenyans through its network, products, and services.


The company has created products and services that are tailored for four categories: small businesses (like Matano’s), medium businesses, large businesses, and the public sector.

“Together, we are building a better tomorrow. We are laying the foundation of the digital economy and helping all industries go digital,” says a message on the Safaricom Business website. “We seek to create opportunities for Kenyans to be a part of our growth story by empowering them with the right tools for economic growth.”

The available products for businesses include call and SMS solutions, cloud computing solutions, cybersecurity tools, M-Pesa for business, internet of things, among others.

Mr Matano got to know about Safaricom Business while he sought fibre connectivity for his enterprise.

Entrepreneurship and more specifically Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises play a critical role in job creation and poverty reduction. The Kenya Institute of Public Policy Research and Analysis estimates that there are over 7.4million SMEs, employing approximately 14.9 million Kenyans in various sectors of the economy.

To further empower MSEs, Safaricom Business has scheduled monthly forums designed to equip entrepreneurs with the required skills to effectively run their businesses.

These forums are dubbed the “Grow with Safaricom Business” series. Through them, entrepreneurs get to interact and learn from panellists about various issues affecting them.

“We learn every day, and that is why I am always on the lookout for opportunities to widen my knowledge,” says Mr Matano.

This Thursday, Mr Matano will be attending the second of 12 forums that Safaricom Business is organising for MSE traders.

Scheduled to take place physically and virtually from 8am, the training will have two guest speakers: Joram Mwinamo and Nyandia Gachago. More about them shortly.

The topic will be: “Building a Strong Brand in a Digital Era.”

Those attending physically are required to register in advance while those who would wish to attend virtually can use the Zoom link

“The ‘Grow with Safaricom Business’ series is an umbrella platform that MSEs engage with Safaricom and others to scale. We want business owners view Safaricom as the technology partner they trust to scale their businesses,” said Cynthia Karuri-Kropac, Chief Enterprise Business Officer, Safaricom.

The forums seek to empower entrepreneurs in four ways: giving exceptional customer experience, being efficient in operations, staying ahead of the curve through innovation and strategies for business growth.

The series will address the need for opportunity awareness and sharing the pitfalls encountered in the entrepreneurial journey, contributing not only to individual business growth but also to the development of a resilient and empowered entrepreneurial community.

During the first forum that took place in March, representatives from more than 50 MSEs gained vital skills on “Using Technology to Grow your Business”.

Every month until June 2025, Safaricom Business has scheduled a topic to guide the MSE forums.

“We will measure the success of the initiative by the number of businesses we transform digitally and those that adopt tech solutions to improve their operations,” Ms Kropac noted.

The June 2024 topic is “AI and Business” while the July one is “Compliance and Regulatory”.

“I will try as much as possible to follow all the forums. The difference between growing and staying average in business is the knowledge at one’s disposal,” said Mr Matano.

Now, back to the guest speakers of Thursday’s forum.

Mr Joram Mwinamo, the co-founder of SNDBX International, has been involved in various organisation and strategy development projects with organisations in nine countries across Africa and Asia.

Mr Mwinamo is an internationally acclaimed coach and public speaker who sits on the board of Amnesty International and is the chair of the steering committee at Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs.

Ms Nyandia Gichago, on the other hand, is a digital strategist who is an expert in market research, brand development, growth and management, digital marketing, social media marketing, influencer marketing, advertising, public relations, customer engagement, among other fields.

Ms Gachago has collaborated with a range of prominent brands, including Riara University, 5ive, Pioneer Insurance, Kenya Methodist University, Kidato School, Naisula School, Beyond Flavors, The Bhub, Autochek Africa, ICPAK, Ole Sereni, among others.

Remember, to attend Thursday’s forum virtually, you can access the Zoom link by clicking here.