Socialight Media Ltd.
Our tagline:A platform streamlining the tender application process by helping users obtain, organise, compile and update paperwork.
Our pitch:Many of the Youth, Women and Persons With Disabilities (PWDs) in Kenya are business owners. The choice to venture into entrepreneurship usually stems from lack of enough employment opportunities to accommodate the nearly a million young people entering the job market every year. As a result, most of them enter into entrepreneurship without any formal training or business skills that would enable them to build and scale their businesses. In their attempt to build their businesses from informal to formal businesses, many of them have ended up closing shop due to the seemingly insurmountable complexities of running a business in Kenya and the region.
Our solution recognises this challenge and seeks to solve it in two ways. First, by building capacity of these businesses at little or no cost to them using digital platforms and Secondly by providing these organisations with the opportunity to scale their businesses in live environment, not hypothetical one. The distinctive aspect of our solution is that it marries capacity building and active work together therefore enabling our users to actually learn by doing in a single platform. We help nurture young informal businesses into by helping them obtain, organise, compile and update relevant paperwork, while simultaneously managing multiple tender applications at once.
An important outcome of this process is that these informal companies will through utilising our platform become increasingly structured into formal business and subsequently find it easier, less costly and less daunting to apply and win Tenders in both Government and Private Sector.
Where our solution team is headquartered or located:Nairobi, Kenya
The dimensions of the Challenge our solution addresses:
Our solution's stage of development:
What makes our solution innovative:Most organisations provide subscription based tender notification platforms that give subscribers access to published tenders, period. They notify users when tenders are published and the service ends there.
Our system has combined notification, storage, training, and most importantly tender management; all of which allow for a seamless end to end process from notification to application, all within one platform.
Our solution was developed through Human Centred Design Principles: we asked users hundreds of questions to understand why they don'applying for or winning tenders and therefore not scaling. We ran multiple prototypes and tweaked our solution to reflect the user feedback.
How technology is integral to our solution:Our initial service platform was borne out of a Public Private Partnership with the Kenya National Treasury due to a need to move them from the manual registration process they were using to certify companies led by Youth, Women and PWDs, who would then get preferential access to procurement opportunities.
Through our technology, Scale enables and contributes to the overall success of any registered business under it; thus providing the framework to achieve that success. We built a solution that was cost effective, efficient and responsive through which over 140,000 businesses, up from only 3,000, have now been registered.
Our solution goals over the next 12 months:Our Kenya success metric is the number of businesses that we will have onboard in the next year. We have created a seamless framework that will allow the 140,000 businesses in our current sister service database to opt-in by using their current login and passwords to sign up on Scale. Our goal is to get 7,500 users in the first year and 20,000 the second year. Our freemium model will allow them to experiment with the system before opting for the premium model.
Our vision over the next three to five years to grow and scale our solution to affect the lives of more people:In 5 years, we expect to have at least 300,000 businesses in Kenya actively using our platform to manage all their tender applications. We expect to have transitioned over 50% of these businesses from informal and sole proprietorship entities to formal Limited Companies.
The biggest challenge in Kenya today are millions of informal businesses that never make the leap into the formal sector. We are set to transform this by steadily getting them to scale marrying learning and doing.
The regions where we will be operating in the next 12 months:
How we will reach and retain our customers or beneficiaries:Scale's platform empowers Youth, Women and Persons with Disabilities who have set up businesses to supply goods and services to both Private Sector and Government. Their businesses are disadvantaged due to their lack of personnel, procurement skills and financial capacity to compete with more established companies when bidding for tenders that they are technically qualified to apply for and win.
Our solution simplifies this process through a learning-by-doing approach. Each section has guidelines, relevant contacts, costs, templates and support systems that lighten the process.
How many people we are currently serving with our solution:With our sister service that officially launched in October, 2013, we have registered over 140,000 businesses. Since last year; nearly 59,000 tenders were issued to Youth, Women and PWDs enterprises registered on our platform.
The approximate value of Tenders issued annually by both Public and Government entities is $10 Billion. Tenders won by our registered members represents less than 5% of the value of tenders they could have won. We want to help them to adequately bridge that gap, guiding them through to ensure they can apply and win efficiently and at a fraction of their current costs and time.
How our solution team is organized:
Explaining our organization:
Socialight Media is a for-profit company that provides Digital-led Solutions that bridge our clients to their Target Audiences. We are the intersection of Organisations, Technology and People. We pride ourselves in our ability to design custom solutions using Existing and Emerging Technologies that best meet user needs.
How many people work on our solution team:
How many years we have been working on our solution:
The skills our solution team has that will enable us to attract the different resources needed to succeed and make an impact:Socialight Media was founded by Marvin Tumbo who is still CEO. Brian Mung'ei is the COO and Comark Onani the CTO.
Our sister service was created in a PPP agreement with the National Treasury in order for Socialight Media to prove itself. Its implementation has since facilitated the registration of over 140,000 businesses. The multiplier effect of reaching these businesses is immense in terms jobs, income and quality of life for the 59,000 tenders that have been won by these businesses since.
Our revenue model:Scale's business strategy entails providing the most complete solution at a fraction of the cost that others are charging for individual services. Scale brings together tender notification, storage, procurement training, and document management systems, all in one platform. We remove the hassle in tender applications by automating and therefore removing approximately 75% of the repetitive work on each tender.
Through a sister service, our database of 140,000 businesses will serve as the primary target audience for Scale platform in the first two years of launching. We developed our solution to be responsive to the everyday business needs. The cost, ease of use, and especially our value proposition especially to SMEs is instrumental not only to growth but more growth of our clients who we are helping win tenders through guiding them on fulfilling each tender requirements.
We have mapped out features to be developed such as a consortium module that allows for collaboration between companies; a financing module for easier access to financing through partnership with financial institutions; a support module that provides real-time technical support and a tracking module for users to follow their tenders through its life cycle.
Why we are applying to Solve:We have already mapped out the MVP for Scale. Solve will assist in accelerating the build up of the solution including future features. This will require the following resources to be hired: a Communication Designer, an Interaction Designer, two Software Engineers, a Business Designer and Platform Administrator.
We will invest in secure cloud-based servers with a focus on data protection technology that will ensure we can guarantee users the safety of their confidential business information.
During rollout, digital marketing will help create awareness, drive registrations and cover the cost for new users for two months to drive adoption.
The key barriers for our solution:Barriers/Risks:
-Setting Expectations that using Scale does not guarantee winning tenders--we help ensure that users do not get disqualified based on technicalities.
-Analogue/Digital Dichotomy: Each procuring entity in Kenya has its own unique and complex approach in terms of tendering.
-Revenue Model: Cognisant of our users, we expect that annual subscription models that we prefer might be too steep for them and might therefore drive them away. Our flexible revenue model will offer users the option to pay annually or monthly.
The types of connections and partnerships we would be most interested in if we became Solvers: