M-KOPA MSMEs pilot

M-KOPA Solar aims test the economic viability of micro and small businesses in rural Kenya, through access to an affordable smartphone bundles with business management tools and low-cost internet connectivity.

M-KOPA will test the hypothesis whether the economic viability of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in rural areas can be unlocked with access to a multi-product bundle consisting of a solar home system (solar TV and lights), a smartphone and an electronic voucher (e-voucher), to purchase business stock. For this pilot, M-KOPA will sell the bundle on a PAYG basis to MSMEs in collaboration with an e-commerce company that sells a variety of products to households and enterprises through its online platform. Not only do micro-enterprises stock essential household goods, but they can also provide other downstream services to communities, such as phone-charging, telecom data vouchers, mobile money services, etc.

In rural Kenya, most MSMEs operate without access to electricity and to traditional financial services. M-KOPA’s proposed integrated bundle could prove catalytic to micro enterprises who stand to gain access to affordable business stock on the platform, build competitiveness through the adoption of e-commerce, improve business operations, and unlock access to credit and energy for their businesses. In essence, this will improve business revenues and increase local employment, provide an online business service with the opportunity to digitise rural supply chains, while the pre-loaded apps and accessible content can enable the upskilling of rural entrepreneurs.

M-KOPA will target MSMEs such as general stores, grocery shops and agribusinesses, while ensuring gender balance in ownership of the enterprises. M-KOPA will develop a partnership that is capable of scaling bundled services combining: PAYG solar systems, smartphones and low-cost data for off-grid MSMEs across East Africa.

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