10 Important Lessons from the SOAR Africa Leadership and Entrepreneurship Summit

The much-publicised event, SOAR Africa Leadership and Entrepreneurship Summit finally took place in Nairobi. From the moment the main speaker, Bishop T. D. Jakes landed in the country, Kenyans have learnt important business lessons.

The American clergy and entrepreneur was not the only speaker at the event. From the dinner to the main summit, local leaders across all sectors have been sharing their leadership skills and lessons.

The speakers included Sylvia Mulinge (Safaricom), Strive Masiyiwa, Polycarp Igathe, Njoki Ndungu, Fred Matiangi (CS, Interior), Nunu Ntshingila (Facebook Africa), and  Darshan Chandaria among others.

What did entrepreneurs take home from this event? Here are top the lessons in summary:

1. Look inside you

One of the quotes that caught many people’s attention from Bishop Jakes was, “”You wake up not because of what’s around you, but what’s inside you.”

The emphasis was on looking on the skills, ideas, knowledge and passions within. Many entrepreneurs seek motivation but real change happens when they start pursuing their convictions.

Looking on the inside means that you stop complaining about what is missing and work with what you have.

In addition, when you are busy building what you believe in, you have little time to focus on those who do not believe in your dreams.

You become unstoppable the moment you stop looking for validation from others to pursue your dream.

Success happens when you actualize what lies inside on the outside.

2. Grow through challenges

You must expect challenges in business even with the right model and internal infrastructure. Your attitude will determine if you soar above the challenges or remain in the same position.

The Bishop called them “fire” or “trauma.” Understand that challenges refine you. Learning the art of self-healing is not optional. You must keep working in spite of the challenges.

Anyone who has done anything great or commendable in life has overcome one challenge after another.

The circumstances in your life should not distract you from pursuing your life’s purpose.

3. Build infrastructure

Stress while running your business is a sign that you have an inadequate infrastructure. It is a sign that you need to upgrade your infrastructure to meet your current level of growth.

Your internal capacity should grow at the same pace as your business. Otherwise, you will always be stressed as a business owner.

4. Never stop learning

You must remain a student in life and in business. Be open to unlearn old strategies and learn new things.

Technology changes every day. Do not be complacent but adopt a learning attitude in whatever field your passion lies.

Growth requires that you be willing to face the truth about your weaknesses. Include honest people in your inner circle who can tell you that truth for you to grow.

Learning is not enough. You must be willing to apply the lessons fully. You cannot select the easy lesson and leave out the hard lessons.

The lessons are meaningless if you are not willing to pay the price required to implement them fully.

5. Keep your promise

Branding is perhaps one of the major lessons to take home from this summit. Every time you create a brand, you make a promise. Keep that promise.

Are you as good as your branding message?

Give the clients or consumers an experience that matches the promise that your brand makes. If you have not been faithful to keep your promise, well, it is not too late to change.

Think global when building your brand. Modern technology makes it easy now to market products to the global market.

Another important lesson about branding; protect your brand!

6. Be patient

Figuring out your passion may take years. Be patient.

Bishop Jakes shared from his own experience. He did not figure out what his real passions and purpose were until he was 40.

Your brand is not that old. Give it time to develop.

If you still have not figured out your niche, give yourself time to discover it. You will be unstoppable when you finally figure it out.

7. Design for the future

Do not build your business or brand based on the past. Instead, design strategies for the future.

As an entrepreneur, you must anticipate change in your niche and plan.

Building for the future means that you focus on building a sustainable business.

What changes do you foresee that may make your brand or product irrelevant? Which technological changes may replace you as an employee or professional?

Start planning for such changes today.

8. Learn to negotiate and collaborate

If you want to bring a significant change in your world, you must learn to work with others. You do not always get everything you want on a negotiating table.

Learn the art of giving and taking from others. Negotiate what you need but be willing to accept what others are willing to offer.

Some changes, especially at the national and international level require collaboration among various stakeholders.

The public and private sectors sometimes have to work together to effect change. Find people with similar values as you and work together.

9. Identify and meet needs

Strive Masiyiwa made success in business sound to simple. It is all about getting back to the basics.

Success as an entrepreneur depends on your ability to identify and meet human needs.

You probably as doing this but you can do more.

The next level of your success in business will depend on the needs you will meet with new products.

10. Think Africa

The fact that such great minds can come together in Africa should tell you that the continent has untapped potential.

Why would global companies be willing to come to the continent?

Apart from the implied lessons about our continent, the discussions at the summit pointed to the opportunities to do business.

In fact, the panellists emphasized that it is the best time to have a business idea in Africa. You will have a market for your product because technology has created new marketing opportunities.

Local companies such as KCB are already preparing the youth for self-employment. In other words, if you do not identify unmet needs and build a business around them now, someone is in school learning how to do it.

We cannot cover all the lessons from the summit that took days. However, we have summarized some of the top lessons learnt. As the panellists mentioned, the real change comes when you are willing to pay the price to implement the lessons.

Kobo360, a Leading E-Logistics Company Finally Launches Its Operations in Kenya

Kobo360 has finally launched its operations in Nairobi, Kenya as promised earlier in the year. The company has been running beta operations for the past five months.

Within this short period, the company has already registered more than 3,000 trucks and truck owners in the country.

The speed at which top companies joined the network is an indication of the unmet needs in Kenya’s logistics industry.

The Nigerian start-up has been disrupting the $150 billion logistics industry in Africa. The entrance to the Kenyan market will further disrupt operations in East Africa.

The gaps in the industry created an opportunity for Kobo360 to expand across Africa.

The logistics industry is characterised by expensive middlemen, corruption and overreliance on telephone calls, a trend that Kobo360 fights to disrupt.

The interest in the Kenyan market is expected. The country has the largest port in East Africa.

The port of Mombasa handles more than 13 million tonnes of cargo every year. The operations at the port are the busiest in the region.

In addition, the port links directly to more than 80 ports across the globe.

During the launch, the company’s CEO for the African region,
Kagure Wamunyu emphasized the opportunities that the port of Mombasa offers.

Mombasa is the gateway to other countries in East Africa including Uganda, Southern Sudan, Burundi and Rwanda.

Kagure noted that launching operations in Nairobi Kenya would enable Kobo360 to expand operations to other East African countries.

Kenya has a high rate of technology adoption. In fact, mobile penetration in Kenya is estimated at 91% while Africa’s average rate is 80%.

Further statistics indicate that more than 43.3 million Kenyans (84% of the total population) have access to the internet.

Given the nature of online logistics that Kobo360 specialises in, the Kenyan population is a ripe market for its operations.

Image: Techish Kenya

Kagure Wamunyu also highlighted the company’s intention to build its Global Logistics Operating System (G-LOS).

The system will enable it to facilitate the fast movement of goods across Africa at a low cost.

Kobo360 is a perfect example of the contribution of digital technology in providing business solutions.

Think about the thousands of truck owners that are already enjoying reliable logistics service in the country.

Kobo360 has already enlisted top companies in Kenya such as Bidco Africa, Rafiki Millers, Union Logistics Limited, McNeel Millers and Intraspeed ARCPRO Kenya Limited.

The list will grow further after the official launch with such giants giving the Company credibility and trust.

Funding operations in Kenya

The Logistics start-up announced earlier this month that it had secured a $30million funding.

The Nigerian tech company secured $10 million from local commercial banks.

The Series A equity round helped Kobo360 raise an additional $20 million to fund to expansion operations.

Goldman Sachs led the Series A round. Other contributors included International Finance Corporation (IFC), Asia Africa Investment and Consulting, Y Combinator and  TLcom Capital.

The net worth of these investors explain the company’s ability to expand from Nigeria to Kenya, Ghana, and Togo is such a short period.

With such financial back-up, Kobo360 will offer seamless connections among truck owners, cargo owners, drivers, and cargo recipients.

Modern technology is at the heart of the supply chain framework with the company offering real-time visibility of the location of trucks on its network.

Kobo360 has solutions for both truck owners and customers that need a reliable network to move their cargo.

In addition to efficient logistics, Kenyans should consider the employment opportunities that Kobo360 has created.

Since March 2019, the e-logistics startup has been creating new jobs in its East African office.

In addition, truck drivers have new job opportunities as more than 3,000 truck owners have already joined the Kobo360 network.

Customers can expect a suitable match with a quality and reliable truck owner within 6 hours.

A combination of data analytics, Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Mobile technology supports efficient matches.

Kobo360 offers reverse logistics, which doubles the income of truck drivers.

All the trips are insured and customers can lock a low rate for a trip for up to two weeks.

It will be interesting to witness the change in logistics in Kenya and the East Africa Region after this launch.

The entrance of Kobo360 is also a wake-up call to Kenyan entrepreneurs to see the opportunities that foreign investors can spot from far.

Opportunities in the logistics industry will always be there as long as the busy Mombasa port is operational.

In addition, tech companies in Kenya have opportunities to create efficient mobile and web solutions for logistics and other fast-growing industries.

Web Design Tips: How to Keep Visitors Longer On Your Website

Are you frustrated by a high bounce rate? You are not alone.

Many website owners experience this challenge, especially after launching a new website.

The frustration comes when you cannot figure out the reason for the high bounce rate.

You check your analytics every week and hope the situation changes.

The web design tips below will help you reduce your bounce rate.

A low bounce rate will not only improve your conversion rates but also your website ranking.

1. Highlight important information

Your visitors come for a specific reason: to find information about your business.

If your website has a blog, the title of the blog could have attracted them to your website.

The first impression will determine if they will stay or go back to the search results.

Use bold headlines and bullets to underscore the most important information.

Using long text may help with your SEO but your visitors have no time to read every line.

Ensure that the information on each page is relevant.

The content should match the headline; otherwise, your visitors will be frustrated.

2. Add high-quality images

Images get more of your visitors’ attention that text.

You may start with free stock images but with time, you need to consider professional photographs.

The nature of images will depend on your business or brand.

For many online stores, the best images to add are those of top products.

Upgrade the quality of images as you upgrade your product line.

If you have no product images to add, look for professional photos relevant to your business.

Here is another trick in case you have no images on your website.

Create quality infographics to present important information about your business or industry.

Use the infographics to highlight reasons why visitors should consider your brand or products.

If you already have images on your website and still getting a high bounce rate, it is time to review the quality and relevance.

3. Embed videos

We cannot give web design tips and leave our videos.

Quality videos are not just good for marketing but for improving your site performance as well.

We bet that your visitors will watch an embedded video before reading any text.

One thing to note about images and videos is they can slow down the loading speed.

Let us pause for a second and ask, could that be the problem with your site?

No one has time to wait for more than 4 seconds for a page to load.

Hence, as you add visual content on your website, consider its effect on the loading speed.

Choose a reliable video platform like YouTube that loads video content fast.

In addition, consider the size of the files before uploading them on the website.

Ask your web designer to minimise the files if you need help.

Again, ensure the video content is relevant to your business.

4. Bold your main keywords

The old trick still works to date. Make your target keywords bold.

Sometimes, actually, most times visitors skim through a page looking for highlights.

You cannot have images and videos alone on all pages. You need text.

In addition to using headlines and bullets, the bold text will keep visitors engages for longer.

Do not stuff your keywords but distribute them evenly throughout the page.

Visitors are likely to scroll down and click on the embedded link on the keywords.

The links should lead to other pages on your websites and not just external sources of information.

Hyperlinking any text makes it stand out even without a bold keyword. Use it.

5. Be direct

The first sentence that your visitors read matters more than you think.

Be direct from the beginning. Use short, clear and concise sentences when creating content.

Put the most important information right at the beginning of a page. Avoid long introduction paragraphs.

You may need to discuss the strategy with your content managers.

Sometimes website owners have the right content that visitors need but fail in the presentation.

Do not shy away from being upfront about your services or products.

You created the website for that reason, right?

6. Simple language

Do not try to impress your visitors with complex words or expressions.

Use plain language and simple sentences.

Your visitors will appreciate the simplicity with which you communicate complex issues.

Also, try to include a playful language in your posts.

Balance your humor with professionalism. You still want them to perceive you as a serious business owner.

You can add humor to your website to a limit. What may be funny to you might offend someone else.

Avoid expressions that target certain groups of people or any offensive language.

The rule goes for social sites, which sometimes overlook a professional language in efforts to keep visitors entertained.

7. Match the content with the title

Web design tips will always include clickbait. In most cases, content creators use the headline as the clickbait.

A lot goes into picking a title or headline for a page or blog post.

Internet users judge the relevance of search results with the title and meta descriptions.

It is acceptable to use attractive headlines. After all, you want as many internet users as possible clicking on your website.

However, the content on the page must match the headline.

Always deliver your promise on your title and meta description.

Otherwise, visitors will leave as soon as they realise the content is irrelevant. That takes seconds.

8. Add a call-to-action button

A CTA button gives visitors a reason to stay longer. Place it at the end of each post or page.

Highlight the button in a way that visitors do not miss it after reading the post.

The button could be anything from ordering a product to sharing the content.

Pick the fitting action depending on the content. Some website owners add a subscription box to collect visitors’ data.

Test the button to ensure that it works and links to the right page where applicable.

Use a creative tag line that encourages visitors to click on the button.

For instance, you will come across expressions like “before you go…” or “just a second” at the end of a post.

In short, lead visitors to take the actions you want.

Final remarks

We have highlighted the top web design tips that will keep your visitors longer and improve your bounce rate. Do you have additional tips to share with our readers? Feel free to share them in the comments section.

The List is here! Top betting apps in Kenya (2019)

Betting apps in Kenya have remained popular despite the changes in government regulations.

The Kenyan government imposed a 20% tax rate on betting winnings but the gambling craze is still on.

Some companies have had to battle in court to maintain their licenses.

International betting companies dominate the betting world in Kenya.

The highest percentage of companies offers their services on websites and not betting apps.

A few have developed mobile apps to improve the experience for their users.

Mobile apps give players the same experience of a betting website with increased connectivity.

Some companies offer the option of betting via SMS or USSD code to save on data charges.

In this review, we focus on companies that have both a betting website and functional mobile app.

1. SportPesa

SportPesa is among the most popular betting apps in the Kenyan market. It was also among the first apps to hit the market.

The developers emphasize on the simplicity of following and placing bets on the app for the users.

In addition, the developers have been updating the app to optimise its performance.

The speed of placing bets on teams is important to users because it has an effect on their data usage.

Another top feature of the SportPesa app is the intuitive user interface. A large number of football fans have limited technical skills.

A simple and intuitive interface makes the app a favourite. The app is free to download and use.

Users enjoy a variety of sports to place bets on including tennis, football, and rugby among others.

2. 1XBET

The 1XBET betting company has a large international clientele of more than 400,000 site users.

Betting fans consider the stability of the betting company when choosing an app. 1XBET offers this guarantee, which partly explains its growing popularity in Kenya.

The app is available for both Android and iOS devices. The first deposit bonus of up to Ksh.10, 000 attracts many users.

The company has an excellent live betting platform and its jackpots are high.

Kenyans also use 1XBET because of the reliable customer services and high odds across all sports.

3. Betika

Betika has done a considerable good job of marketing the app across all online and offline platforms.

Many betting apps in Kenya emphasize on large initial bonuses. Betika attracts users with the betting amount.

Kenyan users can place a bet with as little as Ksh.49.

The app offers high odds as well across all sports and a great experience on both the app and website.

Kenyans run for the daily Betika bonuses and jackpot matches.

Similar to most betting apps, Betika offers instant deposits and withdrawals

Betika app is free and compatible with both Android and iOS platforms.

READ ALSO: Why are Instant Loans Popular in Kenya Despite Metropol CRB Listings?

4. Sportybet

The company offers a fast and light betting app to users. Users can complete the process of placing bets within 6MB.

Such a rate is affordable to many Kenyans given the declining data charges across all mobile carriers.

Another amazing feature of the betting app is instant notifications. Users know instantly when they win to cash out their returns.

Sportybet gives users the freedom to choose between full and partial cash out. Every bet has a return despite the outcome.

The app allows users to bet with any amount from Ksh.50 to Ksh.300. The Karibu bonus for placing an initial bet within that range is Ksh.1, 000.

The Sportybet is different from other betting apps in Kenya in that is allows users to bet on virtual games.

5. M-Bet

Kenyans have preferred international companies for a long time because of the risks involved in the game.

However, Kenyan companies such as M-Bet have managed to penetrate and gain a significant market share.

The company is fully incorporated according to the laws of Kenya for gaming sites.

M-Bet gives an easy experience to users and is available on all mobile networks in the country.

The company started by building its betting site before introducing its free apps to its users.

App users can bet on multiple sports and virtual games.

6. Mcheza

Developers have worked hard at making betting apps appealing to Kenyans.

The Mcheza app is among the apps that resonate with users right from its name to its unique features.

The company provides an option of using USSD code to register and place bets in case of internet disconnection.

Users can cash out their bets at any time during a live game or even before a game starts.

In addition, users can withdraw their bet via SMS at any time.

Mcheza offers virtuals sports in addition to other international sports such as rugby, football, basketball and tennis.

Similar to other betting apps in Kenya, the Mcheza app uses the Lipa na Mpesa payment option for deposits and withdrawals.

The app is available on the Android platform, which is the most popular mobile platform in Kenya.

Quick tips on how to choose a betting app

1. Privacy policy

Avoid betting companies without a privacy policy if you want to keep your personal data safe.

Remember that you will be required to give your personal details for registration.

You will also provide your mobile money account for deposits and withdrawals.

2. Betting odds

Go for betting apps in Kenya with high betting odds.

High odds help you to lower your risks of overspending on betting.

3. User interface

The best betting apps should have a simple and friendly interface.

Betting is a fun game. You do not need long manuals to learn how to use an app.

4. Customer service

Betting apps and sites sometimes develop issues, especially when you want to place a bet or withdraw.

If you have any issue with your account, the customer care staff should be available to resolve it fast.

Read other client’s reviews and test the customer service before betting huge on a new app.

5. Payment options

Mpesa and Airtel Money are widely accepted in Kenya.

Get an app that supports your preferred payment method for deposits and withdrawals.

6. Bonuses

Every player deserves a good bonus from the preferred betting company.

Check the bonus policy right from the initial bonus and other bonus products.

Watch out for companies with a high initial bonus but low earnings on other products.

7. Variety

Football is huge in Kenya but you need more than one sport.

What happens when a league ends? Do you stop winning?

Choose an app with a variety of games, especially your favourite games.

Final remarks

Choosing the best among the top betting apps in Kenya is now easy for you. However, you must play responsibly to enjoy the game. The list of apps will grow as more betting companies develop apps to enhance user experience.

21 Kenyan Statistics for Mobile and Web App Owners

Data analytics is a big word that some entrepreneurs are still struggling with today. The long and short of it is making decisions based on data.

The best time to apply analytics is before starting a business.

In our case, we want to give you key statistics that you should consider when thinking of a mobile or web app.

The big question when doing the initial market research is if there is demand for the product or service.

A good product or service should solve a problem.

Research also helps you identify new opportunities in the market.

As you read these statistics, think of the opportunities that exist in software engineering in Kenya.

Recent statistics on mobile usage, internet, population, and social media usage

1. About 8.2 million Kenyans are social media.

The most popular platforms are WhatsApp (74%), 70% on Facebook and 50% on Twitter.

2. Kenyans spend an average of 3 hours a day on social media

3. Mobile penetration stands at 91%, which is equivalent to 46.94m.

The overall penetration in Africa is estimated at 80%.

4. 43.3 million Kenyans have access to the internet (84%) of the total population.

The 3G network covers 85% of the population while 4G covers about a third of the population.

5. The Kenyan population is young with an average age of 18 years. About 26% of the total population (51.58m) lives in urban areas.

6. By 2018, Kenya had 47.6m mobile money accounts with an estimated transaction value of 3.6 billion US dollars.

7. There are more than 300 loan apps in the market.

8. In the first quarter of the financial year 2018/2019, Kenya surpassed the 100 per cent mark in mobile penetration.

The statistic indicates the total number of active SIM cards in the country as a percentage of the national population.

Kenya joined Tunisia, Morocco and Namibia in reaching this milestone in Africa.

9. Safaricom has the largest percentage of market share. However, the share reduced from 71.9% in June 2017, to 65.4% and 64.2% in June 2018 and September 2018 respectively.

10. In the same period, the Airtel Network Limited increased its market share from 14.9% to 21.4% and 22.4% respectively.

Telkom grew from 8.4% to 9.0 in the same period.

11. The total cyber threats increased from 3,462, 480 between April and June in 2018 to 3, 824, 068 between July and September of the same year.

Over 1.8m were malware attacks, 1m web application attacks, and over 900, 000 botnet attacks

The attacks increased to more than 11m by March 2019.

12. The number of domain names registered increased from 75,096 in June 2018 to 77, 671 in September 2018.

The numbers are limited to dot.KE domain names. The majority are company domains (co.ke).

13. Mobile subscriptions increased from 49.5m to 51.0m from the Oct-Dec 2018 quarter to Jan-Mar 2019 quarter.

14. At least 93% of Kenyans owns a mobile phone. About 43% use smartphones and 21% use laptops or personal computers.

Tablet usage is still low but significant at 7%.

15. Wearable tech devices are at 2% penetration in Kenya

18. 72% of Kenyans access the internet every day while 15% access the internet at least once a week.

19. News and betting sites dominate the top websites in Kenya.

20. An independent report rank Whatsapp (82%), Facebook (80%), YouTube (61%), Instagram (48%), FB Messenger (41%), and Twitter (33%) as the most active social platforms in the country.

21. Facebook has a total advertising audience of 7.9m while Instagram has 1.9m.

Facebook audience increases by 3.9% every quarter.

Notable lessons from the data

1. Social media is a great platform to advertise any product or service in Kenya.

The majority of Kenyans are social media and spend at least 3 hours on the platforms.

2. Kenyan Business owners should consider using WhatsApp and Facebook’s Messenger as channels of communicating with their clients.

3. The Kenyan market offers great opportunities for mobile apps and e-commerce platforms.

The country beats other African countries in internet connectivity and mobile penetration.

Any person who can identify a pain point that an app can solve has an opportunity to make money.

Even with the Kenyan apps in play stores, there are still opportunities for growth. Mobile app developers in Kenya can help new entrants in identifying such opportunities.

4. The Kenyan population is young (an average of 18 years).

Any mobile and web solutions should target young people even in design and functionality.

Young people value speed in transactions and operations. Social and dating apps should on top of the list of considerations for new entrants.

5. Cyber threats are on the rise including the reported cases.

Software developers must consider the security of users when creating new apps.

As more and more Kenyans turn to the internet for quick answers and transactions, hackers are busy looking for loopholes.

In addition to creating online platforms and solutions, developers need to educate users on security issues.

6. Although the government has been cracking down on betting companies, betting apps and sites are still a gold mine.

The young Kenyan population is looking for quick cash given the hard economic times.

Similar to other nations of the world, Kenya loves football. Hence, betting will always be part of it even with government regulations.

7. Nearly 100% of Kenyans have an active SIM card.

Notifications through SMS present a good opportunity to keep users or clients engaged.

The large mobile penetration and social media audience present marketing opportunities for new products.

Final Remarks

Assumptions in any type of business are costly. Entrepreneurs must always look for ways to measure their performance and follow market trends. Data should always guide decisions in every business. The data presented here shows great opportunities in the software business for new entrants.

Any mobile phone service that meets a pressing need in the Kenyan market is a gold mine. In addition, it is important to keep track of the latest trends. Some ideas become uneconomical over time. Government regulation is also an important consideration in software development in Kenya.

Data Sources