StepWise Targets Kenya Marginalized Communities with Cloud-based Automation Products

“One sure way we can maintain and improve the social and economic independence for the underserved is by promoting a rich entrepreneurial culture that will create jobs," Laura Chite, Group CCO.

Laura Chite, Group Chief Commercial Officer, StepWise

Tech firm StepWise is focused on ICT Training and Business Process Outsourcing (BPO).

It has announced the launch of its Software Development Center, ‘Zalda’ that will take advantage of technology to enable and promote inclusion and socio-economic participation, of the underserved communities.

Zalda is an organization that has been spun from StepWise’s Daproim Africa (BPO) and Zalego Academy, all of which focus on ICT Training and Capacity Building.

Through its subsidiaries, StepWise says it has employed over 1000 people with disabilities, raised $3 million in total income for marginalized communities, trained over 12000 youth, and offered scholarships to over 1700 underprivileged youth.

StepWise uses the power of technology to train and equip persons from historically underserved communities, particularly, the youth, women, and Persons with Disabilities, to take part in the 4th Industrial Revolution.  

“As we started building out the StepWise ecosystem, it really became imperative for us to be more holistic in how we use technology as a vehicle to create jobs and career opportunities,” stated Laura Chite, Group Chief Commercial Officer, StepWise. “We started recognizing that we could in-house a lot of what we were equipping our Zalego Academy graduates to improve our own business and create solutions to the problems that Kenyans face which potentially could lead to global solutions.  

According to the International Labour Organization, in 2021 unemployment rate in Kenya increased to 6.6 percent. 

A significant percentage of this comprised of youth and, women. For instance, 67 percent of the disabled population lives in poverty. 

 “One sure way we can maintain and improve the social and economic independence for the underserved, is by promoting a rich entrepreneurial culture that will create jobs, grow the economy and uplift the standards of living,” said Laura “In fact, SMEs account for most businesses in Kenya and are key contributors to job creation and economic development”.  

The firm believes that workflow automation will be key to freeing up SMEs’ time and allowing them to focus on their core competencies.

Besides, automated workflow solutions are preferred over manual processes or application-specific tools of operations in a company as it acts as a better collaboration tool that improves efficiency by more than 35 percent. 

“Despite the growing need for technology to boost operational efficiencies, most business owners inaccurately think that automation costs a fortune and is only reserved for big corporates when in reality, growing businesses should also be equally as keen on streamlining their operations to realize productivity,” said Cyrus Njuguna, Zalda, Head of IT and Infrastructure.

Studies also show that small businesses’ employees work twice as much as regular employees by 60 extra hours or more per week. 

“The cost of manual operation far outweighs the cost of running an automated system yet resistance to change remains the third biggest challenge to scaling automation in organizations,” Cyrus adds.  

Zalda has since developed cloud-based solutions to help small businesses facilitate cross-collaboration, automate processes, and facilitate remote working and learning. 

Its Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) tool, Wisely ERP has been built for growing businesses, and is reportedly customizable for any industry and needs, with automation capabilities SaaS.

It has also built other tools for e-learning and petty cash management.

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Kenn Abuya is a friend of technology, with bias in enterprise and mobile tech. Share your thoughts, tips and hate mail at [email protected]