Women and Technology

Kiteka: all-female, all-African digital outsourcing network

By The Kiteka Team

Location

United Kingdom

Team Leader

Hephzi Pemberton

Our solution:

Kiteka is an all-female, all-African digital training and employment network. We connect women micro-entrepreneurs in Sub-Saharan Africa with international businesses in need of intelligent and trustworthy digital outsourcing.

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Our pitch:

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The problem:

1. Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) is one of the poorest regions in the world (World Bank, 2016). The gender gap is costing SSA $95bn a year (UNDP, 2016)

2. African women are 23% less likely than men to own a smartphone (GSMA and CBWF, 2013). Women only account for 21% of internet users in Uganda (Web Foundation, 2015).

3. When women in SSA have access to technology it increases their access to financial services, education and employment (GSMA and CBWF, 2013).

4. A sustainable way of providing digital skills and employment to women in SSA has yet to be found.





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Why our solution will solve the problem:

1.  Closing the gender gap is good for society and the economy as a whole (IMF, UN Women and UNDP).

2. GSMA and CBWF have shown that smartphone ownership increases income for over half of female entrepreneurs in developing countries.

3. Providing business and technology training increases women's earning potential (see J-PAL and BRAC study).

4. Kiteka’s 2017 impact report found that over 80% of women in the network have seen increased income since owning a smartphone.

5. Enabling additional income through digital work will further close the gender gap and bring financial benefit to women across the region.

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Our solution's stage of development:

Pilot

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Target Outcomes

Our target outcomes:

By 2020 Kiteka aims to:

  1. Provide 1000 female micro-entrepreneurs in Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda with access to smartphone technology and/or business and technology training

  2. Increase local business income for over 80% of women in the Kiteka network through smartphone access and training

  3. Provide digital freelancing opportunities and training for over 50% of women in the Kiteka network

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How we will measure our progress:

  • Outcome: Provide 1000 female micro-entrepreneurs in Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda with access to smartphone technology and/or business and technology training
    Measurement Plan: Track number of smartphone loans issued and number of women trained in business and technology curriculum
  • Outcome: Increase local business income for over 80% of women in the Kiteka network
    Measurement Plan: Measure through impact survey - self reported in 2017 Measure through online book-keeping system/app developed in 2018 onwards
  • Outcome: Provide digital freelancing opportunities and training for over 50% of women in the Kiteka network
    Measurement Plan: Measure through number of Kiteka women working on the online platform/app 2018-2020
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The populations we will benefit initially:

  • Adult
  • Low-income economies (< $1005 GNI)
  • Secondary
  • Female
  • Urban
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The regions we will benefit initially:

  • Sub-Saharan Africa
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The countries we will benefit initially:

  • Kenya
  • Rwanda
  • Uganda
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Technology

The technologies we employ:

  • Consumer-facing software (mobile applications, cloud services)
  • Digital systems (machine learning, control systems, big data)
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Why our solution is unique:

Kiteka is developing a digital outsourcing system that enables women in Sub-Saharan Africa to complete basic digital tasks from a smartphone. Currently all business process outsourcing work is done on laptops and typically in larger centres where workers have to travel to (more typically in India). We want to offer women in our network the chance to earn additional income online from the safety of their home and with flexibility in mind. Businesses have the chance to access a highly reliable and trustworthy workforce of female micro-entrepreneurs all connected through smartphone technology.

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Why our solution is human-centered:

Kiteka is all about enabling women in Sub-Saharan Africa to be active participants in the digital economy. From our smartphone loan programme to our online business and technology training we have always focused on what women in our network need and want. 

The digital outsourcing concept came from conversations with women in our Uganda network asking how they could earn additional income online, whilst at the same time speaking with start-ups in the UK who are looking for a more intelligent way of outsourcing basic digital tasks.

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How people will access our solution:

The Kiteka platform will be accessed by our female workforce via a free app on their smartphone. Kiteka women will be provided with training on how to use the app and complete the basic digital tasks involved. Clients who are outsourcing work through the platform will manage the process via a desktop and mobile application. Kiteka will also develop in-house technology to disaggregate the tasks across the network to ensure exceptional accuracy and quality control.  

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Technology-Readiness Level:

1-3 (Formulation)
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Our website

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Our app

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Business Plan

Our organization:

Non-Profit

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Where we are located:

United Kingdom
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How we will sustain our team financially:

2017:

January: Kiteka raised £15,000 for the first full year of operations through one charitable trust and private donations

October: Crowdfunding campaign of £75,000 planned for funding 2018 (year two of operations)

2018:

Spring/Summer: private fundraise of £150,000 SEIS for Kiteka Ltd - post pilot programme with over 20 clients on-boarded and revenues generated

2019:

Spring/Summer: private fundraise of £250,000 EIS for Kiteka Ltd - used to get company to profitability in 2020

2020:

Kiteka Ltd is profitable and grows organically based on business revenues generated

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The factors limiting our success:

1. Ability to identify niche target market for digital outsourcing services where an all-african, all-female workforce have a competitive advantage. 

2. Building technology that assists with the outsourcing process and creates company IP where we can compete with the competition whilst also having significant social impact.

3. Infrastructure challenges on the ground in east Africa. Ensuring our workforce has consistent electricity and data to complete outsourcing tasks.

4. Ensuring we fundraise from the right partners that will help us scale the business for purpose and profit.

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How long we have been working on our solution:

Less than 1 year
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How long it will take to develop a pilot:

We have already developed a pilot.
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How long it will take to scale beyond our pilot:

3-6 months
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Our expected annual budget:

$75000.00

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How much of our budget we've secured to date:

$10000.00

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Our annual report

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Our promotional video:

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Partnership Needs

We're looking for partners in these fields:

  • Technology Access
  • Human+Machine
  • Income Generation
  • Future of Work
  • 21st Century Skills
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Why we're applying to Solve:

Big challenges are never solved in isolation. Solve offers Kiteka the chance to have the brightest minds and innovators come around the the challenge of how to enable more women from emerging economies to become active members in the digital economy, closing the gender gap and creating economic prosperity simultaneously. The Solve network would also help Kiteka move to a global stage, drawing on an international community of problem-solvers and experts that we have not previously had access to before. This would also help us reach a more international group of clients for the digital outsourcing platform.

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Our current partners:

Google Campus, London - Kiteka idea incubated in Google Campus October 2016

UN Women - Common Ground Initiative 

WPP/Brand Union - Common Ground Initiative 

Highway One Trust, UK

Wayra, London

Cherie Blair Foundation for Women, London

Aspire Foundation, UK 

Jumia, Uganda 

iworkforlife, Uganda 

Strong Minds, Uganda 

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Solution Team

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