Small retail stores, known as Dukas have mushroomed in Nairobi. That aside anyone would confess how convenient they are for all of us. It could be that one time you forgot you need to replenish the salt in the house. Or that time you wanted to buy groceries and maize flour and you found them at one stop shop which has a shop and a grocery stand at the front of the shop. For years, Dukas has been left out of the critical conversations of “small businesses ‘ even though they play a critical role in the lives of many Kenyans.
According to stats by TechnoServe, Dukas in Kenya supply roughly 80 percent of consumer goods and are often run by women or families. They take products and services closer to the people and are the only ones that are known to sometimes give goods on credit to the lowest consumer along the value chain.
Despite the massive advantages of Dukas in Kenya, they still face many challenges and are unable to run efficiently, resulting in lower earnings for their owners. Challenges were more dominant during the pandemic not only in our country but at a global level. To help Dukas in Nairobi navigate these challenges, in partnership with the elea Foundation for Ethics in Globalization and Citi Foundation, TechnoServe has been working to increase the profitability of over 1,000 high-potential shops in Nairobi through their Smart Duka initiative.
The methodology combines individual in-store consulting, group training, association formation, and innovative digital solutions that have seen them sustain their businesses, strengthen the supply chain and play a major role in digital financial inclusion.
The Smart Duka tools equip shop owners with management skills and business knowledge. They can foster business networks, and optimize stores’ financial performance, aesthetics, product offerings, and displays. The project also explores practical digital solutions that enable Nairobi’s shopkeepers to manage inventory efficiently and make mobile payments.
The program works on the promise that Micro and small businesses form the backbone of emerging economies and, according to the International Labor Organization, generate approximately 90 percent of employment in Sub-Saharan Africa. Furthermore, micro-retail outlets are an essential source of basic goods and services for vulnerable communities and serve as a vital link in food supply chains.