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The East Africa Business Podcast: African Start ups | Investing | Entrepreneurship | Interviews

The East Africa Business Podcast: African Start ups | Investing | Entrepreneurship | Interviews

Sam Floy: Entrepreneur in East Africa
 
A podcast interviewing entrepreneurs and business leaders in the emerging market of East Africa. Host Sam Floy showcases companies operating across Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania and Ethiopia. Find conversations with companies ranging from solar power and food production to smoothies and toothpicks.
 
The opportunities and challenges of making affordable socks in Kenya
The opportunities and challenges of making affordable socks in Kenya
12/05/2019 | 2671

This week we're talking with two friends who have set up a business making socks in Kenya.

Both Vidyesh and Bishell grew up in Nairobi to entrepreneurial families, and after education in the UK returned home to begin a business.

They are also friends with Sumit, who featured in the board game cafe episode.

Vidyesh and Bishell decided on socks, as they felt there was a gap in the market and that by starting with a relatively discrete market (school socks) they could grow the business.

It's a very interesting conversation that goes through the practicalities of building a manufacturing company in Kenya.

One of the challenges they state is, for example, the high cost of electricity, and its unreliability, but also the opportunities that come from getting a loyal customer base in an emerging economy.

READ MORE AT:
https://theeastafricabusinesspodcast.com/2019/12/05/the-opportunities-and-challenges-of-making-affordable-socks-in-kenya



 
 
Cracking the nut industry: how Kenya adopted the world's most valuable nut, with Charles Muigai
Cracking the nut industry: how Kenya adopted the world's most valuable nut, with Charles Muigai
11/28/2019 | 3084

Do you know what the world's most expensive nut is?

It's the macadamia nut.

Similar in shape and colour to a chickpea, but up to twice the size, it's originally from Australia and is now grown in several tropical locations around the world.

In Kenya, the first trees were grafted and planted in the 1970s with a few disparate growers and aggregators each individually trying to generate a market.

Ten years ago Charles Muigai founded Nutpak an industry body for nut processors in Kenya.

They deal with peanuts and cashews too, but the real business in macadamias where they represent Kenyan producers both at a national government level and internationally.

Charles and I chat about all angles of how this industry is growing in Kenya including the minimum "farm gate" price set for macadamia farmers, the process by which they are packaged and ultimately exported, and lessons other burgeoning industries can take for their role on global stage.

READ MORE AT:
https://theeastafricabusinesspodcast.com/2019/11/28/cracking-the-nut-industry-how-kenya-adopted-the-worlds-most-valuable-nut-with-charles-muigai



 
 
(Chia) Seed Investors: the surprising story of how chia seeds came to be grown in Africa
(Chia) Seed Investors: the surprising story of how chia seeds came to be grown in Africa
11/21/2019 | 3901

In this episode, I speak with Sabina Karumba about how she and her husband started Chia Africa.

Most businesses have an interesting formation story, though this one is one of the best I've heard in a while.

Sabina and her husband were watching TV one evening in 2012 when a doctor came on the show and explained the health benefits of chia seeds.

Compelled to learn more they undertake research and a few months later are planting their own chia plants in Western Uganda.

This is the first commercial plantation of chia seeds on the continent, and after going around with samples of what they grew they both quit their day jobs and go full time on the business.

A few years later and they are the premier producer in the region, trying to keep up with demand despite other people entering the market too.

Sabina and I talk about lots of interesting things such as how chia seeds should only be grown within 5 degrees of the equator, the genesis of becoming Africa's first chia seed producers (despite never having farmed), and keeping up with the demand for the superfood.

One thing which Sabina downplays, but I thought was particularly impressive is her attitude to sales.

Two of the biggest breaks for the company came with being listed by a major supermarket,  and then one of the region's largest distributors.

In both cases, she just turned up unannounced at their offices, asked to see the owner and after sitting down with them, sold them on making big orders for Chia Africa in just one meeting.

The reason I think is that Sabina is clearly incredibly passionate about the power of chia seeds, and believes everyone should have them in their diet.

Her pitch is pretty simple: it has amazing health benefits that can change people's lives,  people just don't know about it yet, make sure you have some in stock.

You can learn more about the health benefits, the company, as well as pictures of the chia plant which yields chia seeds (which I'll admit, I never knew what they looked like) by heading to the show notes for this episode at www.theeastafricabusinesspodcast.com

READ MORE AT:
https://theeastafricabusinesspodcast.com/2019/11/21/chia-seed-investors-the-surprising-story-of-how-chia-seeds-came-to-be-grown-in-africa



 
 
How Lynk raised $1.3m and evolved from
How Lynk raised $1.3m and evolved from "TaskRabbit for Kenya" to micro-franchising and construction
11/14/2019 | 2805

In this episode, I catch up with Johannes, co-founder of Lynk.

We initially spoke back in late 2016 along with his co-founder Adam. You can listen to the interview by searching for the episode on 'How Lynk is building a "TaskRabbit for Kenya"'.

The company has continued to grow over the years, and this time we meet in the new Lynk house/ office. With a new round of funding secured their employee numbers are up to 45 and, well, they need a new place to house people.

Johannes and I dig into how the business has grown and evolved over the past few years.

The company began by offering services to individuals, and whilst this is still part of their platform, a much bigger side of the business that has grown is B2B.

One of the things Lynk now it is effectively a construction company.

They use their roster of workers to effectively and efficiently build factories, as well as do the interior design and facilities management.

Regarding the individual services that are offered, such as beauticians, the model has also evolved into more of a micro-franchise. Practically this means that Lynk defines the services and how they should be delivered, and then give new workers on the platform a start-up loan to purchase the necessary materials and build their business on Lynk.

READ MORE AT:
https://theeastafricabusinesspodcast.com/2019/11/14/how-lynk-raised-1-3m-and-evolved-from-taskrabbit-for-kenya-to-micro-franchising-and-construction



 
 
From Uber to call centre: why Flare decided on the human touch for emergency dispatch in Kenya
From Uber to call centre: why Flare decided on the human touch for emergency dispatch in Kenya
11/07/2019 | 2517

In this catch-up episode, I chat with Caitlin who runs Flare.

Caitlin and I first spoke in late 2016, and you can listen to the original interview by scrolling down to the episode named Ambulances.

The premise then was that Flare would become a technology platform to connect people with ambulances much in the way that Uber has developed the model of hailing a driver through their app.

Whilst the vision of providing world-class emergency dispatch services remains unchanged, the company has developed more of a human touch.

As Caitlin and I discuss, a core offering they now have is a 24/7 dispatch hotline where trained medical professionals consult with callers before dispatching them to the appropriate provider.

We also talk about other things that have come from running the business over the past three years.

How they've been cautious to not scale too quickly, how large corporates are signing up to the Rescue.co service, and their considerations for international expansion.

The interview takes place in the garden of the Flare house (you may notice a number of companies such as Lynk and SunCulture operate from residential homes) and so there may be some background noise, not least from Koko - the office dog who comes over halfway through.

READ MORE AT:
https://theeastafricabusinesspodcast.com/2019/11/07/from-uber-to-call-centre-why-flare-decided-on-the-human-touch-for-emergency-dispatch-in-kenya



 
 
Why Zamgoat believes goats are the next big meat in Zambia (and the world), with Paul Nyambe
Why Zamgoat believes goats are the next big meat in Zambia (and the world), with Paul Nyambe
10/31/2019 | 3631

In this second episode from Zambia, I speak with an entrepreneur who has found his niche and is fully focused on it.

Paul Nyambe grew up farming goats in rural Zambia. He and his family were unable to earn money from the animals which always struck Paul as frustrating.

Years later he built a career in food sales, specifically ice cream, which meant had relationships with large supermarkets and restaurants.

One noticeable thing missing from the menus and shelves was goat meat.

In 2012, Paul quit his job and started Zamgoat.

The vision is simple: to sell high-quality goat meat to the public.

In our conversation, we talk through various parts of the business such as the profit margin on a goat, the barriers to entry for getting a goat in supermarket aisles, and the reasons why Paul is so positive that goat products are the next big thing for consumers around the world.

We also chat about the potential for more value creation in goat products, such as making rugs from goat skins and various other products.

If, on the off chance, you happen to know someone who'd be interested in advising Paul in this regard, please let me know via the contact form on the podcast website - www.theeastafricabusinesspodcast.com

READ MORE AT:
https://theeastafricabusinesspodcast.com/2019/10/31/why-zamgoat-believes-goats-are-the-next-big-meat-in-zambia-and-the-world-with-paul-nyambe



 
 
No credit card to drive! How City Drive Hire have opened up the Zambian car hire market
No credit card to drive! How City Drive Hire have opened up the Zambian car hire market
10/24/2019 | 2746

The landlocked country is just south of Malawi, Tanzania and DRC, and has the great Zambezi river as it's border with Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia.

Economically there's a lot of copper and mining exports, and my sense is that the development of local services is most in line with Uganda or Tanzania, rather than Kenya (more developed) or Rwanda (less developed).

In this episode, I speak with Greg, who runs a car hire company from the capital Lusaka.

It started 10 years ago and now has operations across the country.

I really enjoy hearing how businesses in the region adapt traditional business models to provide a superior service to existing alternatives.

Yes, there's a lot of excitement in developing off-grid solar solutions using mobile money,  but there's also a lot of merit in running a business with professional service that an emerging economy is going to demand.

In this case, good quality and reliable car rentals.

Greg and I discuss the company's formation, how they modify their cars for Zambian roads (such as switching out the Japanese cold weather tyres), how their fleet is now over 500 cars through an innovative leasing programme, and how the payback on vehicles they purchase, is just 4-6 months.

There's also lots of good advice from Greg about building a company organically and strategically thinking about where you can be valuable to clients.

As always, you can head to www.theeastafricabusinesspodcast.com to learn more about the company featured.

READ MORE AT:
https://theeastafricabusinesspodcast.com/2019/10/24/no-credit-card-to-drive-how-city-drive-hire-have-opened-up-the-zambian-car-hire-market



 
 
Moringa revisited: catching up with Audrey Cheng on the coding school's international expansion
Moringa revisited: catching up with Audrey Cheng on the coding school's international expansion
10/17/2019 | 2215

In this episode, I catch up with Audrey Cheng, the founder of Moringa School.

We first did an interview in October of 2016, and so it had been over 2.5 years since we last spoke.

The initial episode is called "Coding Schools", and so be sure to scroll back through the archives to give it a listen, if you're interested.

Moringa School is still going strong, and now has a presence in Rwanda, as well as having taught over 1,500 students.

The fundamentals remain the same - providing a relevant skill set to people entering the workforce in emerging markets - and we chat about how the company has evolved recently.

This includes expansion into different fields from just coding (such as data science), greater outreach (such as programmes for low-income students), partnerships they've brokered with international agencies, and how they are at the stage of codifying their culture for the next phase of expansion.

We did this interview in a hotel lobby and so at times, you might hear some background noise from other tables.

I hope, however, that this doesn't detract from what is a very interesting interview from the founder of a company clearly on an upward trajectory.

READ MORE AT:
https://theeastafricabusinesspodcast.com/2019/10/17/moringa-revisited-catching-up-with-audrey-cheng-on-the-coding-schools-international-expansion/



 
 
How Brexit is affecting Kenya's role in the global flower market, with Chris Kulei from Sian Roses
How Brexit is affecting Kenya's role in the global flower market, with Chris Kulei from Sian Roses
10/10/2019 | 4460

This week we're speaking with a big player in one of Kenya's largest industries: flower farming.

Horticulture is one of the biggest sectors in the country's economy, and 60% of all the world's roses are grown in Kenya.

This is for a number of reasons, which I discuss with Director of Sian Roses, Chris Kulei.

Kenya has a number of natural features such as high altitude, and access to water which, along with low labour costs means they can produce roses for a tenth of the price of elsewhere such as Holland and Israel.

Before our interview, Chris took me on a tour of their 45 hectare farm just out of Nairobi going from the initial grafting of new roses, through the various stages before being picked, packed and put on a pallet for export.

You can see some pictures of this by heading to the show notes on www.theeastafricabusinesspodcast.com

The overarching concept with growing flowers is that it's a volume game.

The global market, which is centered in Holland, is incredibly efficient and means margins for flowers are very thin, and millions of stems are traded every day.

As such, companies like Sian Roses need big capex and efficiency savings to stay competitive. Indeed, they currently focus just on roses in order to maintain a high quality.

We discuss the many players in the global supply chain, how very often they'll get to name a new rose, trends in the industry towards sustainability, and how Brexit is causing all kinds of confusion at the auction house.

There's so much interesting stuff here I really hope you enjoy.

READ MORE AT:
https://theeastafricabusinesspodcast.com/2019/10/10/how-brexit-is-affecting-kenyas-role-in-the-global-flower-market-with-chris-kulei-from-sian-roses/



 
 
A tech success story. How Africa's Talking equips African software developers with APIs
A tech success story. How Africa's Talking equips African software developers with APIs
10/03/2019 | 2511

In this episode I speak with Bilha Ndirangu who is the CEO of one of Africa's most successful tech start ups.

Started in Kenya nearly 10 years ago, Africa's Talking now serves over 5000 customers and has operations in 18 African countries.

Most of this growth has been self-generated, though last year they took on investment of around $10m to fuel the company's expansion.

For those who have not worked in the tech space, an API (or Application Program Interface) is a way that software developers connect up different bits of technology.

Without APIs things get tricky because if, for example, you want to build an app that sends an SMS to users you need to negotiate directly with the telco to allow them to send messages on your behalf.

This comes with heaps of technical complexity (and sometimes regulation to conform to) which mean it's incredibly painful to do.

Africa's Talking takes away all of that complexity by doing the hard work on behalf on developers.

They go across Africa and complete of the headache stuff of integrating with telcos and banks, and then allow developers to seamlessly plug in so their apps/ businesses can easily begin accepting payments and sending SMSes.

It's a great business model which gets better with the network effects of them expanding to more countries.

In this episode Bilha and I talk about the company's formation, how it's changed upon its recent growth spurt, and how the bigger the company gets, the more it becomes defensible against outside competition.

I really hope you enjoy this episode with Bilha.

READ MORE AT:
https://theeastafricabusinesspodcast.com/2019/10/03/a-sexy-tech-success-story-how-africa's-talking-equips-african-software-developers-with-apis/



 
 
How many eggs can you fit in an Uber? A Nairobi egg dealer on overcoming micro-business challenges
How many eggs can you fit in an Uber? A Nairobi egg dealer on overcoming micro-business challenges
09/26/2019 | 1696

One of the nice things about having a podcast is that it allows you to have conversations with people you wouldn't otherwise get around to.

In this episode I sit down with John, the man who I buy my eggs from in Kenya.

In Swahili, "mayai" means "eggs" and so his customers know him as John Mayai.

John works from an apartment building in Nairobi, and stores thousands of eggs in the car park to then sell to individuals and small businesses wanting to buy them in multiples of 30.

We talk about how he started the business buying and selling 5 trays of eggs, and is now up to 80, how cold weather affects the price of eggs, and the main challenges that come from expanding the business.

Now, the big limiting factor John mentioned was the ability to buy more eggs and transport them back to the car park to then sell to local businesses.

"There's always demand for eggs" as John put it, so it's just a case of increasing the supply.

Immediately after recording this episode I went for lunch my friend Raaj and we got chatting about how we could help out John to expand his business.

Long story short, the next day we were in a car with him driving up to a large egg market on the outskirts of Nairobi, returning a few hours later with nearly 5000 eggs.

I made some recordings from the trip, and so who knows, perhaps one day it'll get made into an episode.

Anyway for now, there's lots of interesting insights from John and I's conversation and so I hope you enjoy this episode.

John's business is representative of how a lot of people in Kenya work and live - buying and selling products and at a low margin in order to fund other areas of their life, such as school fees for the children.

I hope you find it enlightening.

READ MORE AT:
https://theeastafricabusinesspodcast.com/2019/09/26/how-many-eggs-can-you-fit-in-an-uber-overcoming-micro-business-challenges-with-john-a-nairobi-egg-dealer/





 
 
How a Kenyan couple captured the Japanese market in Kenya, with Wangari Wachira
How a Kenyan couple captured the Japanese market in Kenya, with Wangari Wachira
09/19/2019 | 3103

Near to where I live in Nairobi is a Japanese cafe.

Whenever I've been the food has been delicious, and the small place is full of people from Japan, enjoying Ramen bowls and cold imported beer.

I thought it would be interesting to interview the owner to learn about how the business started.

It turns out that the owner Wangari and her husband have cornered down a niche market in the city.

Both were born and raised in Kenya, independently decided to learn Japanese as kids and ended up getting married after a mutual friend introduced them so they could connect on the shared love for Japan

Today they run a diverse portfolio of businesses to serve Japanese consumers in Kenya.

In the interview we discuss how their businesses came to be, the interplay of owning a safari company, supermarket, cafe and farm all geared towards the Japanese market, and practicalities of, for example, selling Bento boxes in Nairobi.

It's a really interesting example of finding a business area that's aligned with your personal interests and skill set, and then occupying that niche to very high standard.

READ MORE AT:
https://theeastafricabusinesspodcast.com/2019/09/19/how-a-kenyan-couple-captured-the-japanese-market-in-kenya-with-wangari-wachira/



 
 
Why did the home of running not make running shoes? Nava the co-founder of Enda Running explains
Why did the home of running not make running shoes? Nava the co-founder of Enda Running explains
09/12/2019 | 3120

If you think about brands that different countries have, most people probably have two strong associations for Kenya.

Safari and running.

The safari industry is well established, with innumerate tour companies able to take you on your dream holiday seeing the Big Five.

Running, however, is an industry which is much less developed.

In fact, until Enda, there were no running shoes made in arguably the home of running!

As we discuss in this episode, Nava, the co-founder of Enda Sportswear wanted a way to promote sports in her country and settled on building shoes as the biggest impact way to do so.

In the process, Enda has become a vehicle for promoting local industry, with all of the assembly taking place in Kenya, and many parts, such as shoelaces, being produced in the region too.

Nava and I talk about all sides of the business, including where and how the shoes are currently sold, the global (ahem) footprint that the brand has, and the practicalities of setting up production of high-end footwear in East Africa.

The Enda offices are in the same place as a number of artist workshops.

We're doing the interview outside, and so there may be a bit of background noise from people moving stuff, as well as some chickens who wandered over at some point.

READ MORE AT:
https://theeastafricabusinesspodcast.com/2019/09/12/why-did-the-home-of-running-not-make-running-shoes-nava-the-co-founder-of-enda-running-explains-their-story/



 
 
Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, why SunCulture can profitably sell to smallholder farmers
Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, why SunCulture can profitably sell to smallholder farmers
09/05/2019 | 4426

If you've been following The East Africa Business Podcast for a while, you might notice that most episodes are around the 30-40 minute mark.

Whilst that was the intention here, in this episode Samir and I end up chatting for well over an hour.

The reason being is that (to me at least) there's just so much interesting stuff to talk about the business he's running.

Sunculture exists to improve productivity amongst smallholder farmers, and does so through a variety of services including solar irrigation pumps and financing all run on a state-of-the-art software platform.

We talk about how and why the company was formed, why Samir believes that, unlike the US, there will always be smallholder farmers in this part of the world, and how Sunculture's dream team operates, in part motivated by Samir's monthly emoji email.

A big part of the Sunculture thesis on development is aligned with the discussion I had with Conrad Whitaker. To learn more, search for the episode on the Distributed Economy.

We do the interview in the garden of the lovely Sunculture offices and so there may some background noises (including a nearby scuffle between a dog and monkey) which I hope doesn't detract from what is a really fun and information packed episode.

We sometimes go a bit off-piste, including how Samir is hoping to one day reach out to the Ohio band that share Sun Culture's name. We sample one of their tracks at the end of the episode, if you're interested.

READ MORE AT:
https://theeastafricabusinesspodcast.com/2019/09/05/fortune-at-the-bottom-of-the-pyramid,-how-and-why-sunculture-can-profitably-service-smallholder-farmers-at-scale/



 
 
East Africa's first board game cafe, and why most Kenyans don't know how to play, with Bao Box
East Africa's first board game cafe, and why most Kenyans don't know how to play, with Bao Box
08/29/2019 | 2838

There are certain business models or concepts which seem to be universally popular.

One big one recently has been creating a public space where friends can meet up for some food and drinks and play board games.

In this episode I speak with Sumit Dodhia who a few years ago had the realisation that Kenya was missing such an institution, and so, along with 5 friends, decided he would start one.

Two years later and Bao Box is a great success.

There are over 100 board games on offer, and the business can attract custom throughout the day, compared to other places which are concentrated solely on after work and evenings.

We talk about the costs and practicalities of getting the cafe set up, how they source their games from "board game dealers" operating in Kenya, and how his staff are paid to play board games in their downtime, as many never grew up playing them.

It's a really interesting episode that, to me at least, highlights how different types of businesses can survive and thrive in this part of the world.

READ MORE AT: https://theeastafricabusinesspodcast.com/2019/08/29/east-africas-first-board-game-cafe-and-why-most-kenyans-dont-know-how-to-play-with-sumit-dodhia-from-bao-box/



 
 
Move over Tesla, Opibus has a better way to get electric vehicles on African roads
Move over Tesla, Opibus has a better way to get electric vehicles on African roads
08/22/2019 | 3235

We've got a very interesting interview this week, one that brings together using modern technology with a compelling market need.

It's all about electric vehicles.

Now, you've probably heard about Tesla and some other companies building cars that don't run on petrol.

It turns out that, for now at least, these vehicles don't work in the East Africa context.

Opibus is a Swedish company founded by a group of engineers looking at how to get more electric cars on the road.

One route is the Tesla approach of building an electric car from scratch.

The approach of Opibus is to take existing vehicles, rip out the petrol engine, and put in an electric engine instead.

What that leaves you with is a much quicker and more flexible way to get electric cars being driven in different conditions.

Interestingly, despite being a Swedish company, other than a few prototypes the company's operations have been almost entirely in Kenya.

Several factors, such as the presence of lions and elephants, have made it the ideal place for the company to start.

Mikael, the head of the commercial side of the business, and I discuss this, and all manner of things in this episode which I hope will leave you feeling positive on the role and room for innovation in the region.

READ MORE AT: https://theeastafricabusinesspodcast.com/2019/08/22/move-over-tesla,-opibus-has-a-better-way-to-get-electric-vehicles-on-african-roads,-with-mikael-gange/



 
 
Video Games: Africa prepares for the $bn gaming market, with Nathan Masyuko from Ludique Works
Video Games: Africa prepares for the $bn gaming market, with Nathan Masyuko from Ludique Works
10/11/2018 | 2388

Gaming is something that a lot of people may not consider as a business industry.

I, for one, know or rather knew very little about it, though this interview with Nathan Masyuko from Ludique Works was one of the most insightful interviews I’ve ever had.

We speak about the international, multi-billion dollar business in video games and Africa’s place in it

It turns out that South Korea is the mecca for gaming, and that individual players are earning hundreds of thousands of dollars from playing video games.

How? Well, the key has been to transform video games as a sport.

For sports to get popular it can’t just appeal to the players, it needs to be turned into a spectator sport.

This is the part which, as someone who has never watched another person play a video game as a form of entertainment, I found the critical piece to unlock how the industry is put together.

Nathan and I also discuss the current state of the East Africa gaming community, the kinship between other nations building games, and Ludique Works vision for building the ecosystem.

The simple message is that the industry in Africa has made it once creatives have the financial backing to focus on making and marketing games.

There’s tons of interesting content in this interview, including links to Nathan’s best recommendations on African games to play.

READ MORE AT:
https://theeastafricabusinesspodcast.com/2018/10/11/video-games-africa-prepares-for-the-bn-gaming-market-with-nathan-masyuko-from-ludique-works/



 
 
Relocating top African software developers to European tech teams, with Caspar Coding
Relocating top African software developers to European tech teams, with Caspar Coding
10/04/2018 | 1963

An interesting heuristic you can think about when considering companies operating in East Africa is where the demand comes from.

There are lots of businesses you can see where the product or service is developed in the region and ultimately is consumed in East Africa.

Through the lens of this podcast, just look to some recent episodes on Tissue Paper, Bottled Water Franchises, and Surveys.

Whilst there is certainly a strategy in serving the growing local market, there is certainly a limitation on its size.

There’s a whole different set of companies, operating from East Africa but whose end customer is outside the region.

Caspar Coding is one of them.

They work with European clients to place East African senior software developers directly in their teams.

It’s one area where there’s a huge imbalance. In Western Europe alone there are 5 million openings for senior software developer jobs and lacks the supply of local talent to fill them.

Caspar started off solving this with developers working remotely but now relocate ambitious developers directly to the European country.

Sebastiaan, the CEO, is Dutch and so the early clients have been from there.

This is a really great episode that touches on various themes in the region, such as demographics, finding product-market fit, and ultimately the power of gaining a modern skillset to grow your career.

READ MORE AT:
https://theeastafricabusinesspodcast.com/2018/10/04/software-developers-relocating-top-african-talent-into-european-tech-teams-with-sebastiaan-tan-from-caspar-coding/



 
 
Entrepreneur and author Sean Keough explains the need for a different financial model in developing markets
Entrepreneur and author Sean Keough explains the need for a different financial model in developing markets
09/27/2018 | 2423

This is an episode which I really hope you stick with.

As you’ll have seen from some of the other episodes, I find that often the “unsexy” aspects of doing business in East Africa are the most interesting and important.

Financial modelling is not necessarily top of most people’s lists to think about, however, in this episode, Sean Keough puts forward a pretty compelling argument why you should.

Sean has worked in Ethiopia for many years and has been building up businesses in the country which haven’t previously existed.

He began with advising other companies on their growth and found that it was difficult to forecast what the impact would be of different business decisions.

Entrepreneurs knew the ins and outs of their business, but couldn’t run through scenarios of how external factors affect their business, and as such were running blind, and also not having the rigour to attract foreign investment.

Long story short, Sean has now written a book which takes entrepreneurs through how to model their business.

It’s available on Amazon by searching for the somewhat cryptic title of “Financial Modelling in Developing Countries”. You’ll also find a link in the podcast description: Financial Modelling for Developing Countries

The interview also allows us to speak more about the nuance of doing business in Ethiopia, one which is fundamentally different to others in East Africa owing to its closed economy legacy.

There are tons of insights here around the different dimensions of working in Ethiopia, as well as the life aspect of running a business in the region.

For more episodes from Ethiopia search for Ride Hailing and Takeaways in the archives, but now, it’s my great pleasure to introduce Sean Keough.

READ MORE AT:
https://theeastafricabusinesspodcast.com/2018/09/27/financial-modelling-entrepreneur-and-author-sean-keough-explains-its-importance-in-developing-countries/



 
 
The Economist's Africa editor compares East Africa's development with the rest of the continent
The Economist's Africa editor compares East Africa's development with the rest of the continent
09/20/2018 | 3023

In this episode I speak with Jonathan Rosenthal, the Africa Editor of The Economist.

Our paths crossed when I was back in London for a few weeks, and so we took the opportunity to meet, and speak about some of the continent wide trends which he’s seeing, from the vantage point of running the Africa desk for the magazine.

Most episodes you’ll have listened to on the show will delve into a particular aspect of running a company in East Africa. Teasing out the specifics of why a certain business decision has been made or not, or trends that are present within a particular industry niche.

This episode is slightly different.

Jonathan and I take a much broader look at Africa’s development through the lens of, say, government debt ratios and currency reserves.

Whilst this might seem a bit lofty, I’d encourage you to stick with it.

In listening to the other episodes you will (I hope) get an understanding of the micro level of business in the region.

To get a fuller picture requires, I believe, to understand the larger macro factors at play in the story of development.

One such example of this is the government policy of raising debt from local banks.  Because the interest rates they offer are so high, it distorts the incentives for banks to lend to local businesses. As such, this macro level effect of “crowding out” the private sector trickles down to the suppression
of local businesses looking for capital to grow.

There are also references to the macro trends that can come from the innovation of rooftop solar systems. If you’d like to learn more on this, be sure to check out the Distributed Economy episode with Conrad Whitaker from Azuri Technologies.

The interview took place at The Economist HQ in London which, helpfully, has a recording studio of its own. If you’re interested in hearing more from The Economist, be sure to check out their regular podcasts which feature updates, insights and in-depth interviews that expand on their stories.

READ MORE AT:
https://theeastafricabusinesspodcast.com/2018/09/20/the-economist-how-east-africas-development-compares-with-the-rest-of-the-continent-with-jonathan-rosenthal-africa-editor-of-the-economist/



 
 
Big retail CEO Daniel Githua explains the role of supermarkets formalising the East African economy
Big retail CEO Daniel Githua explains the role of supermarkets formalising the East African economy
09/13/2018 | 3480

Some of the biggest and most visible players in any country are the supermarkets.

They employ thousands of people, have a wide geographic presence and interact with many aspects of the economy through supply chains and products sold.

Tuskys is one of the biggest in Kenya, and East Africa, and in this episode I interview Daniel Githua the CEO.

The interview was pencilled in to take 30 minutes, but there ended up being so much interesting stuff that we continued recording, meaning it’s one of the longer episodes on the show to date.

I think part of the reason was the depth of insights that Daniel had, and the frankness with which he spoke about both opportunities and current downsides in running the business.

Some highlights from the interview include: the macro trends in formalising the retail sector in Kenya and how reaching new towns transforms the local economy, the biggest opportunities he sees for retail products across different categories, and how the market may change in the coming years, with the introduction of large international retailers like Carrefour and Shoprite

If you’re interested in other interviews about food and retail, look to episodes on Cooked Beans, Invoice Financing and especially on Coconuts which talks a lot about the struggles manufacturers have with payment terms when selling to supermarkets, something Daniel recognised that the retail industry has to address.

At times there might be a bit of shuffling, and sips of tea (the Tuskys staff were very accommodating) and so please excuse and slurps or shuffles which exist at the beginning – or at least when the tea was still hot.

READ MORE AT:
https://theeastafricabusinesspodcast.com/2018/09/13/supermarkets-formalising-retail-in-east-africa-with-daniel-githua-of-tuskys/



 
 
Booming factory business. Tales of growth, expansion and toilet paper, from Darshan Chandaria
Booming factory business. Tales of growth, expansion and toilet paper, from Darshan Chandaria
09/06/2018 | 2918

Manufacturing is one of the major value drivers in an economy.

In this episode, I speak with Darshan Chandaria, Group CEO of Chandaria Industries, the company founded by his grandfather in the late 1940s and which has now diversified into other areas.

The core business is hygiene products: recycling waste paper and turning it into tissue and other products.

This episode is slightly longer than usual, mainly because there just seemed to be so much to talk about. This includes the set up of their fully integrated operation, the thought process of building a new factory, hiring strategies across the group and Darshan’s management strategy for leading the team. Essentially: find people on the same wavelength and leave them to it.

There are also other tidbits of information in there around designing detachable roofs in the new factory, the comparatively high cost of transporting goods, as well as Darshan’s strategy for building his Instagram following.

The interview took place at Chandaria HQ which is a working factory and so at times there might be some background noise of trucks moving around. I’m sure you’ll agree though that it adds to the effect.

READ MORE AT:
https://theeastafricabusinesspodcast.com/2018/09/06/tissue-paper-expanding-one-of-east-africas-top-manufacturing-groups-with-darshan-chandaria-of-chandaria-industries/



 
 
An innovative construction material transforms Kenya's booming housing market, with Mburu Karanja
An innovative construction material transforms Kenya's booming housing market, with Mburu Karanja
08/30/2018 | 2628

Housing in Africa is a huge problem.

Every year millions more people arrive in cities and are forced to stay in informal settlements.

Developers struggles to keep up, and walking around Nairobi at least, you’ll rarely be far from a construction site building another high rise.

What I didn’t realise though, was how the current approach of building with bricks and mortar is actually quite inefficient.

There’s a limit on how much you can build each day (four stones high) and a whole series of other considerations which means that the supply of housing is actually constrained by the bricks and mortar approach.

In this episode I speak with Mburu who runs Cemex Holdings, a company that produces a new form of building material, essentially panels of reinforced steel mesh.

Before conducting the interview in Mburu’s office upstairs I had a tour of the factory and a the show home they made next door. Maybe I was missing something, but the argument to switch seemed pretty compelling.

On most fronts it seemed to be a superior offering to stone building, the main barrier being people’s willingness to go with something outside of the status quo.

I won’t spoil things too much, but I found this a fascinating business for showing how to introduce a new technology into a market, as well as learning more about the dynamics of the construction industry which I know next to nothing about.

Mburu is a biochemist by training from University of Texas, passionate about building Kenya.

The vision is how to offer dignified housing to all Kenyans.

The technology they are using for the panels (EPS: expanded polystyrene) is over 40 years old. There are 60 plants around the world, and 17 in Africa.

It allows for rapid installation of housing materials, cutting construction time by 50%.

The core business as a materials supplier. But also need to vertically integrate, with this being a new market. The big thing is to train contractors in using the Cemex system.

There are various trade offs involved. The major consideration is the time taken to build a structure. With stone you can only do 1 metre per day. By using a whole panel you do 3 metres per day.

Being a new technology in Kenya they are going through the diffusion of innovation.

There is a unique housing problem in Africa. There are not enough houses in Africa.

A big thing is to try and move people away from the idea that stone is the only route they can do.

Kenyans are price sensitive, so the numbers have to work. Which they do. There are cost savings in: less materials (reinforcing foundations), time, finances

Interest rates are high in Kenya (13.5% base) and so being able to realise revenue quicker cuts the overall costs.

In going to the market, they’ve never had a rejection once engaging with a developer.

The vision of the company fits the government’s Big Four agenda (ensuring food security, affordable housing, manufacturing and affordable healthcare).

Several other companies have begun using this technology in Kenya. Though they are the only one with a partnership from the Italian originators Emmedue.

It’s a certified green building technology. Reduced environmental impact compared to quarrying stone. Transportation is much lighter too: 1 lorry of EPS is the same size of finished product as 7 lorries of stone.


READ MORE AT:
https://theeastafricabusinesspodcast.com/2018/08/30/walls-how-a-new-technology-building-material-will-transform-kenyan-housing-with-mburu-karanja/



 
 
How Busara Center's unintuitive behavioural insights bring clarity to the complex, with Chaning Jang
How Busara Center's unintuitive behavioural insights bring clarity to the complex, with Chaning Jang
08/23/2018 | 2273

A lot of the interviews on The East Africa Business Podcast have been related to individual companies telling their stories, and the lessons they’ve learned.

In this episode, you’ll no doubt come away with a lot of insight, though the dynamic is slightly different.

I’m speaking with Chaning, who is the co-founder of the Busara Center, a behavioural economics lab based in East Africa.

Their roots are in academia, though they have now branched out to applying the insights they generate to other organisations. We also have an interesting conversation around grants, and how Busara will typically work with clients to write grant applications to unlock funding.

In this episode Chaning and I discuss the multitude of problems which the lab have solved, similarities and differences in how people around the world act in certain situations, and how they have scaled to become an organisation of 150 employees operating in multiple countries.

Towards the end Chaning also references a pharmacies business that “sits downstairs”. Nairobi is a small city and he was referencing a company called Maisha Meds. You can listen to that interview that I had with Jess, the CEO by searching for the Medicine podcast in the archives.

As always would be very interested to hear any feedback you have on the podcast, but for now, here is Chaning.

READ MORE AT:
https://theeastafricabusinesspodcast.com/2018/08/23/behavioural-economics-applying-decision-making-insights-to-development-with-chaning-jang-from-busara-center/



 
 
Impact Investing: Beyond Capital’s perspective, with Brian Axelrad and Nicholas Java
Impact Investing: Beyond Capital’s perspective, with Brian Axelrad and Nicholas Java
08/16/2018 | 2832

In this episode I speak with Brian Axelrad and Nicholas Java: investors at Beyond Capital.

They are a special type of investor, which is the topic of our discussion.

Beyond Capital operates as an impact investor, an interesting player in the East Africa business space.

Like traditional investment, impact investment is fundamentally a vehicle for injecting money into ventures, the difference lies in that the success of the investment is measured not just in financial terms, but also for social good.

As we discuss, this can be a tricky concept to define – but the broad sense is that these investments will accept a trade off on pure financial return on investment, in exchange for promoting pre-defined societal objectives.

For Beyond Capital they invest in businesses that address the lack of access to basic goods.

We go through how they whittle down opportunities in their pipeline, the challenges of reporting on impact and, where they see the greatest opportunity for impact in the social entrepreneur space.

With this episode there are also lots of links and reports that we mention, and so be sure to check out the show notes for more information about both Beyond Capital and impact investment in general.

READ MORE AT:
https://theeastafricabusinesspodcast.com/2018/08/16/impact-investing-beyond-capitals-perspective-with-brian-axelrad-and-nicholas-java/



 
 
Season Three Preview
Season Three Preview
08/12/2018 | 414

Overview
So it’s been a few months since we last released episode and we’re back soon with some more interviews on the bustling business scene in East Africa.

We have a number of episodes that you can look forward to. I’ll give you a short preview of the ones to come and also a bit of housekeeping.

We’re starting on Thursday 16th August 2018 with


Impact Investing
The view from Beyond Capital, and impact fund, on what they look for when putting in money for social good in the region


Behavioural economics
Insights that come from the Busara Center on applying behavioural practices to solve challenges in East Africa. Lots of interesting, and often counter-intuitive insights in that one

We’ve then got a few big players in the Kenyan economy. I noticed that there has been a slight bias in previous series around focusing on the “growth start up”. Entrepreneurs who have spotted a gap in the market, and are early on their journey. But with this series we’ve got some more… bricks and mortar businesses going on:


Tissue Paper
Chandaria Industries. So I have a great interview with Darshan Chandaria who is third generation of the family business. They’re one of the biggest manufacturing companies in the region (making tissue paper) and now a host of other activities.

He is personally an investor on the TV show Lion’s Den which is the Kenya equivalent of Shark Tank in the US and Dragons Den in the UK. Interestingly in Rwanda it’s called Face the Gorillas, I guess because they are they are a formidable creature in the country. And, I had to Google it, it turns out that in most other countries it’s called Dragons Den. I was hoping there’d be lots of Tiger references in South East Asia, but that’s just Japan where the show is called Money Tigers. Sri Lanka probably has the most interesting version which is called Wall of Tuskers, in reference, one would guess to elephants being the most unnerving creature on the island.


Supermarkets
Tuskys is one of the biggest retail chains in Kenya, and by virtue, East Africa. I think this might be one of my favourite interviews to date. It’s certainly the longest, which I guess is a proxy for how much interesting stuff there was to cover. But again, we’re talking with the CEO of a large bricks and mortar business, employing thousands people across the region. The insights and perspectives that you get is different five people with their laptops coding up a solution to a problem they see


Walls
And then to continue the bricks and mortar analogy we have an interview with Mburu Karanja who runs Cemex. They are, ironically, in the business of disrupting the literal bricks and mortar industry. There’s a technology developed in Italy which is an alternative to making walls with stones, instead making panels from steel mesh, concrete and polystyrene. From what he says it’s superior on almost every measure to building stone structures and seems like it could be a really promising part of the nation building aspect of East Africa.


The Economist
Also whilst I am based most of the year in Kenya, I was back in London over the summer and took the opportunity to meet with Jonathan Rosenthal who is the Africa Editor of The Economist magazine, who sponsored earlier episodes on the show.

This was quite fun, as I got to go into The Economist office, in the radio booth that they use for their own podcasts, and also see the magazine in the making, as well as have an interview about a lower case economist’s view of Africa.


READ MORE AT:
https://theeastafricabusinesspodcast.com/2018/08/12/season-three-preview/



 
 
Big Data Lending: unlocking commercial capital for Africa with Daniel Goldfarb from Lendable
Big Data Lending: unlocking commercial capital for Africa with Daniel Goldfarb from Lendable
04/12/2018 | 2604

It’s widely acknowledged that one of the biggest prohibitions to the development of East Africa is lack of capital.

The global economy is premised on aggregating savings in, say, pension funds and then deploying it to areas where it will earn a return.

This investment is what generates economic activity – stimulating business growth and creating jobs.

It also generates a return for those running, say, the pension fund to disperse to their members.

Traditionally this large scale movement of money has happened only in developed markets.

Developed markets are structured in a way that allows finance professionals to calculate the riskiness of an investment, and therefore feel comfortable parting with their capital with an expectation it will be paid back.

Traditionally, the methodology for deciding whether to invest big pools of money in Africa has been done using the same framework as for developed markets.

This hasn’t bode well.

In short the techniques for deciding how much money to invest have meant that only small amounts could be safely deployed.

Lendable have taken a different approach.

They are a technology enabled debt platform created to help non banking lenders scale.

They use in-house software tools and algorithms to analyze loans and offer facilities that make sense for lenders based on their loan books.

It might sound simple, but this approach of a buying a loan book, rather than looking at the assets that a company has, is a paradigm shift towards creditworthiness and has meant the company has been
able to unlock millions of dollars of capital that, using the old frameworks, wouldn’t have been deployed.

Now, I appreciate that might all sound a bit technical and advanced but Daniel, Lendable’s CEO and I go into the details of how this works – as well as tales along the way of running their business through two Kenyan elections, and what it takes to attract US Hedge Funds to invest in Africa.

This is, for me at least, a great episode around how large scale impact can be achieved through facilitating the transfer of wealth from the developed to developing world.

READ MORE AT:
https://theeastafricabusinesspodcast.com/2018/04/12/big-data-lending-unlocking-commercial-capital-for-africa-with-daniel-goldfarb-from-lendable/



 
 
A
A "one for one" model delivering nutritious hot lunches for schoolchildren, with Wawira Njiru
04/05/2018 | 2205

Most people have somewhat underwhelming memories of school lunches.

Bland, uninteresting food which likely compelled you to go off at break time to the local shop and eat sugary doughnuts, a chocolate bar and a bag crisps. Or chips, for our American listeners.

This dynamic is somewhat similar in the Ruira county of Kenya, just outside the capital Nairobi.

The difference though, is that the option of meals at school is non-existant.

READ MORE AT:
https://theeastafricabusinesspodcast.com/2018/04/05/school-lunches-nutritious-meals-for-hungry-kids-with-wawira-njiru-from-food-4-education/



 
 
The social (and commercial) upsides of building an online parenting platform, with MumsVillage
The social (and commercial) upsides of building an online parenting platform, with MumsVillage
03/29/2018 | 2022

One of the upsides of the internet is the ability to collect and store information that was previously only passed down between generations, or spread by word of mouth.

One of its downside though, is that it’s a very big place, and trying to find relevant information can be a thankless task in a world where we’re all short on time.

Of all the information that’s out there, Mums Village is looking to organise it for a discrete set of people

Mums in Kenya.

Isis, the founder of Mums Village, and I discuss the platform she has built.

READ MORE AT: https://theeastafricabusinesspodcast.com/2018/03/29/mums-creating-an-online-parenting-platform-with-isis-nyongo-from-mumsvillage/



 
 
Where does hair comes from? The global supply chain of human wigs and weaves
Where does hair comes from? The global supply chain of human wigs and weaves
03/22/2018 | 2247

This is an episode I’ve been wanting to do for a long long time.

One of the things I’ve found bewildering working in the region is the frequency with which the females I know change their hair style.

From month to month it can change drastically and, dare I say it, unrecognisably. On occasion I have momentarily re-introduced myself to new colleagues on account of a completely different hairstyle changing their appearance.

Anyway, this episode is all about hair.

Luxury hair to be specific which, as you’ll find out means it comes from the real hair of other humans.

It’s honestly one of the most fascinating interviews and businesses on the podcast so far.

READ MORE AT:
https://theeastafricabusinesspodcast.com/2018/03/22/human-hair-big-money-in-african-wigs-and-weaves-with-gisela-van-houcke-from-zuri-lux-hair/



 
 
How the
How the "Distributed Economy" thesis could revolutionise how we think about Africa's development
03/15/2018 | 2488

This is a slightly different episode of The East Africa Business Podcast where  we’ll be covering a thesis around development.

When you consider how countries and societies have spurred economic growth it has all happened through urbanization.

Streams of people moving from rural livelihoods to populate cities where they would find a better life and more opportunities.

Underpinning all this was energy.

Opportunities and wealth are a function of economic productivity and in order to produce more, power is needed to run, say, factories.

Historically this has been generated centrally, in a power station and sent out via the grid.

This has favoured a society built around these central sources of power and hence led to the rise and growth of cities.

Azuri Technologies, however believes that this same path does not need to be taken in Africa

READ MORE AT:
https://theeastafricabusinesspodcast.com/2018/03/15/distributed-economy-an-alternative-development-thesis-with-conrad-whitaker-from-azuri-technologies/



 
 
Kasha opens up access to sanitary pads in East Africa through last-mile distribution
Kasha opens up access to sanitary pads in East Africa through last-mile distribution
03/08/2018 | 2183

There are certain products which, let’s face it, are more embarrassing to purchase than others.

You don’t think twice about buying a pint of milk, however things such as contraceptives, or sanitary items make you a bit more self-conscious, especially if you’re an awkward teenage girl.

Kasha an enterprise in Rwanda, started by solving the very discrete problem around girls accessing to affordable, quality sanitary items which can cause long-standing societal issues, such as school drop-out, if not solved.

READ MORE AT:
https://theeastafricabusinesspodcast.com/2018/03/08/womens-health-e-commerce-delivering-female-products-across-east-africa-with-joanna-bichsel-from-kasha/



 
 
The need to digitalise the pharmacy business in East Africa, and the benefits that come when you do
The need to digitalise the pharmacy business in East Africa, and the benefits that come when you do
03/01/2018 | 1803

Pharmacies are found in almost every community in East Africa, however the way in which they are currently operating leaves a lot of room for improvement

The business is largely run from pen, paper and phone meaning shop owners don’t have the visibility on how everything is run.

Beyond this though, there is a huge potential to drive change in the medical space through formalising the way in which medicine is delivered across the region.

In this episode Jess Vernon, CEO of Maisha Meds and I discuss how her technology company is using data to improve how local pharmacies are run and their ambitions to transform the broader industry.

READ MORE AT:
https://theeastafricabusinesspodcast.com/2018/03/01/medicine-enabling-a-modern-day-pharmacy-in-africa-with-jessica-vernon-from-maisha-meds/



 
 
Why Ethiopia needs a localised version of Uber, with Habtamu Tadesse from ZayRide
Why Ethiopia needs a localised version of Uber, with Habtamu Tadesse from ZayRide
02/22/2018 | 1990

In many parts of the world, ordering a taxi from your smartphone is the new norm.

Until July 2016 though, this was not possible in the country of Ethiopia, Africa’s second most populous country.

There are several nuances about Ethiopia which made it difficult, and it was only once Habtamu returned to his home country after several years away that the capital Addis Ababa now has this service.

It’s worth saying that Ethiopia is distinctly different from the other countries featured so far on this podcast. The ruling government runs a relatively closed economy, and there are strict regulations on anything involving interaction with the international business community.

In this interview, Habtamu and I discuss just this, and some of the workarounds that he has had to develop in order to operate in Ethiopia.

We cover how people have debit cards, but can only use them to withdraw cash, national company ownership for particular industries, and also how unlike other countries that Uber and the like work in, it’s illegal for private drivers to earn money giving rides.

There’s lots in this episode around doing business in a difficult place, and the strategies to overcome it, and so beyond just leaning about Ethiopia, I have no doubt you’ll get a lot from it.

READ MORE AT:
https://theeastafricabusinesspodcast.com/2018/02/22/ride-hailing-building-a-localised-version-of-uber-in-ethiopia-with-habtamu-tadesse-of-zayride/



 
 
Running an online business in Ethiopia when the power goes out, with Feleg Tsegaye from DeliverAddis
Running an online business in Ethiopia when the power goes out, with Feleg Tsegaye from DeliverAddis
02/15/2018 | 1922

When running an e-commerce company in most parts of the world, there are certain things you can take for granted. Namely that your customers can get on the internet in order to use your service.

In Ethiopia, this isn’t always the case.

The country regularly has power outtages meaning the population are without electricity and businesses are forced to adapt.

Even when the lights are off though, people want food, and part of the reason that Deliver Addis is still in business is that they have had the creativity and tenacity to overcome such issues.

Feleg and I discuss how they created offline procedures for his online company, attracting investors in a nascent climate, and the steps they take to onboard restaurants to their platform.

It’s a great insight into business in Ethiopia, and so I hope you enjoy.

READ MORE AT:
https://theeastafricabusinesspodcast.com/2018/02/15/takeaways-running-a-food-ecommerce-platform-when-the-power-goes-out-with-feleg-tsegaye-of-deliver-addis/



 
 
African rocketship BitPesa use blockchain to enable international payments, with Elizabeth Rossiello
African rocketship BitPesa use blockchain to enable international payments, with Elizabeth Rossiello
02/08/2018 | 1747

This week we’ve got an excellent episode which looks at applying breakthrough technology, to frontier markets.

You’ve probably heard of Bitcoin and blockchain, and here Elizabeth Rossiello CEO and founder of Bitpesa and I discuss how this technology can help African businesses grow through improving how they make international payments.

Why? Well in mature markets there’s a lot of liquidity between different currencies, meaning if you wanted to trade between Euros to Dollars to Pounds, the fact there’s lots of people trading it means you can get a good price.

However, when you are looking to trade African currencies, there’s not so much activity meaning companies are getting caught with high high prices to move money around the world, such as paying suppliers.

Bitpesa has stepped in to provide financial remittance services for anyone wanting to buy or sell African currencies, with Bitcoin and digital currencies acting behind the scenes to smoothen the process.

Just a heads up that this interview took place over an internet call which is different to the in person episodes done to date, and also that Elizabeth will be speaking at The Economist’s Innovation Summit in Nairobi, and so be sure to check that out if you’re interested in learning more.

READ MORE AT:
https://theeastafricabusinesspodcast.com/2018/02/08/bitpesa-blockchain-enabled-international-payments-with-elizabeth-rossiello/



 
 
Revolutionising access to credit in Africa through Peer-to-Peer lending, with Hilda Moraa
Revolutionising access to credit in Africa through Peer-to-Peer lending, with Hilda Moraa
02/01/2018 | 2337

Many international studies have pointed to the lack of SME financing as being a huge blocker to a country’s development.

In the context of Kenya, many small business owners are excluded from the formal financial sector due to the high operational costs involved with opening and running a bank account. As a result, they have no formal credit history and are not able to get a loan.

Pezesha are seeking to overcome this by giving the unbanked, their first step on the formal financial ladder.

Hilda, the founder and CEO, and I dig into the difficulties of getting a bank account (and by extension, a loan), how Kenya’s ubiquitous mobile money network facilitates their business, and how they are layering on their data analytics to the dynamics of the existing social investing culture in Kenya.

This is one of those episodes that can leave you scratching your head at times, but nevertheless shows the huge potential for technology and financing to transform a region.

READ MORE AT:
https://theeastafricabusinesspodcast.com/2018/02/01/p2p-lending-revolutionising-access-to-credit-in-africa-with-hilda-moraa-from-pezesha/



 
 
How mSurvey's Head of Data leverages the company's big data for insights never before possible
How mSurvey's Head of Data leverages the company's big data for insights never before possible
01/25/2018 | 2051

Understanding your customers is an incredibly important aspect of any forward-thinking business.

In many developed markets there are reams of public data available to understand demographics, as well as established market insight companies who give a perspective on consumer tastes.

In Kenya, however, this was difficult. mSurvey was borne from a PhD student’s frustration at not being able to get such insights, and five years on the company is one of the region’s flagship start up success stories.

In this episode Sam Kamande, who is mSurvey’s Head of Data, and I discuss the many applications of their technology platform, how the fact that African consumers are very comfortable communicating via text message is good for their business, and the vision for utilising the big data they collect to give a holistic view on the African consumer.

This is a cracking episode, full of tid bits of information on the East African economy, doing business and generally the real impact of applying technology to an area that has been historically overlooked.

READ MORE AT:
https://theeastafricabusinesspodcast.com/2018/01/25/surveys-leveraging-big-data-from-mobile-money-with-sam-kamande-from-msurvey/



 
 
Season Two Preview
Season Two Preview
01/21/2018 | 124

Overview
So… after a few months away The East Africa Business Podcast is coming back, with more interviews from entrepreneurs and business leaders on the ground in this exciting part of the world.

On Thursday we’ll be going live with an interview with Sam Kamande, Head of Data at mSurvey. A company leveraging technology and big data to help businesses improve their customer experience.

It’s a great episode, and we even get onto the topic of wearing mascara.

After that we’ll have the usual assortment of in depth interviews from diverse industries, including a few from Ethiopia, which is a fascinating place when it comes to business.

We’ll learn how challenging it is to implement business models common in other parts of the world, namely ride hailing (i.e. Uber) and restaurant delivery (i.e. Deliveroo), and importantly the strategies entrepreneurs there are taking to overcome.

As one of them said, “if we can make it in Ethiopia, we can make it anywhere in Africa”


Staying updated
In terms of some housekeeping there are a few things to update you on.

Firstly, we now have a Facebook page, and so if you’d like to get updates of episodes, and learn more about the guests and their companies, please do Like and Follow the page.

You can find it by searching for: The East Africa Business Podcast

On there we’ll also be resharing episodes from the archives, and so it’ll be a good way to keep an eye out on an interesting topic or business that you may wish to learn more from.

Also, if you are listening to this update after hearing previous episodes, then it would be fantastic if you could leave a review of the show on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts.

It’ll help others like you find the show, and generally, I’d just appreciate it.

So, I’ll leave it at that for now.

Keep an eye out for a new episode hitting your podcast inbox on Thursday 25th January, and look forward to speaking to you then.


READ MORE AT:
https://theeastafricabusinesspodcast.com/2018/01/21/season-two-preview/



 
 
*SPECIAL* Silicon Savannah: Business Lessons from East Africa Talk
*SPECIAL* Silicon Savannah: Business Lessons from East Africa Talk
08/23/2017 | 4603

Overview
We’ve got a slightly different format for this episode – it’s a recording of a talk that I gave on a recent trip back to London.

It was held at a co-working space (@huckletree) to an audience of people interested in learning more about the business scene in East Africa.

We have a bit an intro and overview of the main industries in the region before delving into a few other topics which haven’t really been covered so far on the podcast

  • Some thoughts around how technology in the region is being adopted quicker, leapfrogging the developed world
  • How the education system means it can be difficult to hire in East Africa
  • And a discussion around the implications of Brexit and the Trump election on the region

About half way through we get to Q & As which, in my opinion is the best bit as we get to cover some more contextual questions of the business scene.

Some of the questions might be a bit tricky to pick up, but you should be able to work out what’s going on from the resulting discussion.

In any case, this is a slightly longer episode than you might be used to, but with the diversity of topics we cover, I hope you find it useful.

If you have any thoughts, questions or comments, just drop me a message on Twitter @Sam_Floy or by email podcast@samfloy.com

READ MORE AT:
https://theeastafricabusinesspodcast.com/2017/08/23/special-silicon-savannah-business-lessons-from-east-africa-talk/



 
 
Season One Conclusion
Season One Conclusion
06/07/2017 | 300

Overview
This is a little episode to update you on what’s going to be happening with The East Africa Business Podcast.

The short version is that the podcast is going on hold for a while as I focus on growing my own business in the East Africa region.

I’ll explain the context, which should hopefully make a bit more sense.

In any case, the podcast will likely be back in the not-too-distant future and in the meantime we can all have a bit of a breather.


How the podcast started
As background I found myself starting this podcast as means to meet entrepreneurs in East Africa.

I was interested in learning about the business scene and found that requests to “meet for a coffee to learn about your business” were quite understandably rebuffed with “I’m just too busy running my company”

Therefore I thought about ways in which I could equal the exchange and still have that conversation.

Almost all of the companies I was looking to talk to were looking for exposure and to generally increase their brand awareness and it turned out to be relatively straightforward to create a set up where I could record a conversation about their business and soon have it appear on iTunes.

It turns out that an opportunity to showcase your company to an international audience is a much more attractive proposition than going a coffee with a random guy from Britain.


What now?
Now however my schedule has begun to fill up a bit.

When I started out on my “Try Before You Buy Tour” around the region I essentially gave myself 4 months to understand as much as I could about the business scene in East Africa with a view moving out permanently and starting my own thing.

I started by taking a flight to Rwanda and, using savings from my previous start up job in London, I could devote substantial amounts of time to absorb the business environment.

After undertaking a “Big Think” in Zanzibar I decided Kenya was where I wanted to move full-time and begun making plans to undertake the transition to Nairobi.

Now that I’m here, this, naturally, involves finding a way to live sustainably.

I undertook work at a start up in Nairobi and began consulting with other organisations as a means to pay the rent.

What spare time I do have goes towards validating the shortlist of business ideas I’m considering, and then putting effort into getting them off the ground.

As such, with the podcast not bringing in direct revenue, it’s something to be put on the shelf for the time being.

It’s something I’ve thoroughly enjoyed to date and so will be certain to pick it up again as soon as conditions permit.


Look in the archive
Anyway, I’m sure that’s more than enough about me

For you, the listener, there are many excellent episodes within the archive for you to go back and enjoy if you’re interested in learning more about business in East Africa.

If you’ve not subscribed already, just search for The East Africa Business Podcast on iTunes, Stitcher or any of the other podcast apps and scroll through the forty plus episodes that are there.

All have their nuggets of brilliance and so I’d recommend finding a title which piques your interest and giving it a listen.

Nevertheless, I will now highlight some of my favourites for you to try out first:

READ MORE AT:
https://theeastafricabusinesspodcast.com/2017/06/07/season-one-conclusion/



 
 
Dream. Grow. Be Found. How Fuzu equips thousands of Kenyans for the workplace, with Jussi Hinkkanen
Dream. Grow. Be Found. How Fuzu equips thousands of Kenyans for the workplace, with Jussi Hinkkanen
05/31/2017 | 1925

The demography in East Africa dictates that tens of millions of people will be entering the job market in the coming years

There is not only a challenge of creating jobs, but also guiding individuals on a path of what they want to do.

People typically lack the career counselling framework from, say, their families, especially for roles such as “digital marketing manager”.

Jussi is building Fuzu – a platform to guide people through their careers.

We discuss growing a company with a base in both Finland and Kenya,
how Fuzu categorises their type of job seeker and the challenges of bringing a disruptive business model to a traditional market.

Jussi also has probably the best rationale I’ve heard around the role of “for profit” and “not-for-profit” organisations in solving large scale social problems in developing markets, something I’ve always struggled to grapple with myself. It comes in at around 12 minutes.

For now though, I hope you enjoy the episode.

READ MORE AT:
https://theeastafricabusinesspodcast.com/2017/05/31/career-development-building-an-individualised-employability-platform-with-jussi-hinkkanen-from-fuzu/



 
 
We Farm are building an SMS-based social network for farmers, with Kenny Ewan
We Farm are building an SMS-based social network for farmers, with Kenny Ewan
05/24/2017 | 1894

When you consider different ways of getting information, you might think of going on Google or reading a book

But how to do this in an environment with no libraries, computers, let alone internet access?

Farmers in the field have limited means to get information and We Farm are looking to help by providing a Peer to Peer platform for farmers to send SMS questions and answers to each other.

Kenny, the CEO, and I discuss the process – of pairing these questions and answers, why he thinks people are altruistically contributing to the platform and the most common question that they get asked by farmers…

At times the audio is a little bit iffy, but we’ve done our best to edit things to what is hopefully an acceptable level, if you want some more information head to samfloy.com / podcast for the show notes.

For now though, hope I you enjoy this episode with Kenny from We Farm

READ MORE AT:
https://theeastafricabusinesspodcast.com/2017/05/24/sms-farming-building-an-agricultural-social-network-without-the-internet-with-kenny-from-we-farm/



 
 
Paying for textbooks by the page: how Kytabu is disrupting Kenyan education, with Tonee Ndungu
Paying for textbooks by the page: how Kytabu is disrupting Kenyan education, with Tonee Ndungu
05/17/2017 | 1838

The main way that students learn how to pass an exam is by reading from a textbook.

Traditionally, this has been built on the premise of publishers printing physical copies,
distributing to schools and taking cash payments.

This all comes at a cost, which is prohibitively high for a lot of schoolchildren in East Africa.

Tonee and I spend this episode discussing Kytabu.

They’ve turned the model on its head by digitising the content of these publishers, and allowing students and teachers
to access what they want, when they want it,
renting chapters from a book at a few US cents per day, paid for with mobile money

We also discuss how a lot of Kytabu’s employees are still at university, other trends that Tonee sees in the East African EdTech space and how a different interpretation of doughnut can completely undermine attempts from abroad to distribute educational content

It’s a great example of using scalable technology to disrupt an industry, and so I hope you enjoy

READ MORE AT:
https://theeastafricabusinesspodcast.com/2017/05/17/ebook-renting-bringing-innovation-to-textbooks-in-kenya-with-tonee-ndungu-from-kytabu/



 
 
Kenya's first local producer of coconut goods. Kentaste's hustle to get in supermarkets and more
Kenya's first local producer of coconut goods. Kentaste's hustle to get in supermarkets and more
05/10/2017 | 1895

One of the growing international product categories is goods made from coconuts.

The health, and taste, benefits of coconut oil and coconut milk have caused a rise in demand for these types of product

In Kenya, hundreds of thousands of coconuts are grown each year, and yet were not processed into these high value goods.

In this episode I talk with Sakina from Kentaste, Kenya’s first coconut good producer.

We discuss the process of making coconut products from their coastal factory, knocking on doors at supermarkets to get listed and then paid and how to use coconut oil with your dog

As a consumer of Kentaste products, which is part of why I wanted to go and interview them, I can also say that it’s really good stuff.

In any case, I hope you enjoy this packed interview with Sakina about all things coconuts

READ MORE AT:
https://theeastafricabusinesspodcast.com/2017/05/10/coconuts-kenyas-first-local-producer-of-coconut-goods-with-sakina-from-kentaste/



 
 
Preventing food waste through solar powered fridges, with Luke Davey from Inspira Farms
Preventing food waste through solar powered fridges, with Luke Davey from Inspira Farms
05/03/2017 | 1912

One of the recurring themes throughout conversations with agriculture companies is the problems with post harvest loss

If produce can’t be kept cold then it will perish quicker and as a result farmers lose out on income

Cold storage (essentially a big fridge) offers the solution, but in an environment with inconsistent power supply, and poor access to capital, this has proved difficult.

In this episode Luke and I talk about how Inspira Farms are using technology to solve this problem.

We discuss how the technology they’ve developed is innovating the market, the compelling financial arrangement they are able to offer farmers and how selling in Kenya is different to doing so in Rwanda

I found this a really interesting conversation to cover the landscape of agriculture in East Africa, and so I hope you enjoy it too.

READ MORE AT:
https://theeastafricabusinesspodcast.com/2017/05/03/cold-storage-units-selling-modular-fridges-to-reduce-post-harvest-loss-with-luke-davey-from-inspira-farms/



 
 
No need for uni. Moringa School's world class coding school in Kenya, with Audrey Cheng
No need for uni. Moringa School's world class coding school in Kenya, with Audrey Cheng
04/26/2017 | 1798

Most business is about matching demand with supply.

From her work as a Venture Capitalist talking to businesses about what would help them grow, Audrey found that resoundingly the answer was “tech talent”.

Investigating the options available to students wanting to learn these skills, she found they were sub par.

Moringa School is addressing the need by providing world class education in how to build apps at an affordable cost.

We discuss the innovative teaching methodologies that they adopt, ways of breaching the skills gap in Kenya, and prospects for taking these vocational based higher education alternatives across the continent and into different skills.

Our interview was on the balcony outside of their office and so it gets a little windy at times, but either way, I hope you enjoy.

READ MORE AT:
https://theeastafricabusinesspodcast.com/2017/04/26/coding-schools-a-world-class-higher-education-alternative-in-kenya-with-audrey-cheng-from-moringa-school/



 
 
Setting boundaries: how Agrinfo's mapping technology overcomes pen and paper land disputes
Setting boundaries: how Agrinfo's mapping technology overcomes pen and paper land disputes
04/19/2017 | 2018

Smallholder farmers are the majority of the East African population, but there are many issues that they face.

Rose, who founded Agrinfo, is using ICT to help. Identifying some key problems for Tanzanian farmers she and her team are looking to improve the agriculture sector by utilising modern technology.

We discuss the low number of farmers with legal right to their land, the process for mapping Tanzania and the benefits that come by knowing what is planted where.

There’s a bird tweeting outside the window at the beginning of the episode, and so apologies if you find that distracting.

READ MORE AT:
https://theeastafricabusinesspodcast.com/2017/04/19/rural-mapping-bringing-technology-to-the-tanzanian-agriculture-sector-with-rose-funja-from-agrinfo/



 
 
Training rats to save lives (no joke) in Tanzania, with Georgies Mgode from Apopo
Training rats to save lives (no joke) in Tanzania, with Georgies Mgode from Apopo
04/12/2017 | 2064

Humans are good at a lot of business functions, but one where animals have got us beaten is at sniffing things out.

Rats have the best sense of smell of all mammals and can detect landmines and turburculosis to a much higher accuracy and in a fraction of the time of the best detection technology that humans can manage.

Apopo trains rats from birth and then sets them out to do the job of detecting things which humans struggle at.

Georgies and I discuss the applications of Apopo rats, the school program that they go through and how it’s easier to train the Giant African Rat rather than a dog.

This one is a lot of fun and so I hope you enjoy.

READ MORE AT:
https://theeastafricabusinesspodcast.com/2017/04/12/rats-training-rodents-for-humanitarian-purposes-with-georgies-mgode-from-apopo/



 
 
Uber for ambulances. Why most Africans can't call 911 and how Flare solves this, with Caitlin Dolkart
Uber for ambulances. Why most Africans can't call 911 and how Flare solves this, with Caitlin Dolkart
04/05/2017 | 2029

There are some ideas that, when someone tells you about it, your first reaction is surprise that there even needs to be a business

I had this reaction about Flare, which is improving how people get access to emergency care in Kenya.

Described as “an Uber for ambulances” it is consolidating the 50 companies that exist in the country so that there is one place for patients to call to get fast emergency care.

Essentially making a something akin to 999 (or 911 in the US).

We discuss the current state of the emergency healthcare market across Africa, the stepped process in which they are deploying the app and educating the population that this is a service that can actually exist.

It’s one of the most interesting conversations I’ve had and so I hope you enjoy

READ MORE AT:
https://theeastafricabusinesspodcast.com/2017/04/05/ambulances-creating-uber-for-emergency-healthcare-with-caitlin-dolkart-from-flare/



 
 
Inuka Pap uses mobile money to help low-income savings groups, with Waweru Kuria
Inuka Pap uses mobile money to help low-income savings groups, with Waweru Kuria
03/29/2017 | 2601

Cash is risky business, and in Kenya, mobile money is big.

People living in rural areas are liable to have their life savings lost if it is kept under the mattress.

Many engage in lending co-operatives whereby a community organisation acts as a bank for people who need money in an emergency.

This is, however, pretty archaic and inefficient meaning people can’t get instant access to cash when they need it quick.

Using a digital platform that connects mobile money to these rural co-operatives, Inuka Pap is making it possible for people to get access to the funds in an instant.

Waweru and I discuss what the lending landscape looks like, their social mission of providing free insurance, and the blurred lines around whether they themselves are a bank or not.

As a side note, the day after I interviewed Waweru he pitched Inuka Pap at Seedstars, a global start up competition, and won the title for Kenya! You’ll see that he has knack for storytelling.

Also, a car alarm goes off in the background right at the end, so apologies for that…

In any case, I hope you enjoy!

READ MORE AT:
https://theeastafricabusinesspodcast.com/2017/03/29/digital-rural-banking-using-mobile-money-for-co-operative-lending-with-waweru-kuria-from-inuka-pap/



 
 
Treasure from trash: how The Recycler creates value/ maggots from waste in the booming Dar es Salaam
Treasure from trash: how The Recycler creates value/ maggots from waste in the booming Dar es Salaam
03/22/2017 | 2079

One of the by products of a country’s development is the amount of waste that is produced.

As populations grow the number of, say, plastic bottles that are consumed increases.

It’s costly both financially and environmentally to transfer these materials to dumpsite and Matthew from The Recycler wants to change this.

His business is all about creating value out of products that would otherwise be thrown away to increase the amount of recycling that occurs.

We discuss why Tanzania is the prime location for this type of business, the applications of waste, and how he is growing maggots as a much more sustainable form of chicken feed.

READ MORE AT:
https://theeastafricabusinesspodcast.com/2017/03/22/recycling-maggots-creating-value-from-waste-products-with-matthew-haden-from-the-recycler/



 
 
Escaping the rental poverty trap: how Tugende gives motorcycle taxi drivers the ability to own
Escaping the rental poverty trap: how Tugende gives motorcycle taxi drivers the ability to own
03/15/2017 | 1985

A recurring theme across East Africa is how owning an asset is a path out of poverty.

It’s a bit of a chicken and egg problem, as banks typically require an asset as collateral before giving a loan.

Tugende gives people their first step on the ladder.

Starting as a side project of some bikes that Michael bought for his motorcycle friends, Tugende has now grown into an organisation that thousands of drivers use on their path to ownership.

Michael and I discuss the issues of the rental poverty trap, the process around how they mitigate risk, and how he sees is customers as micro venture capitalists.

It’s a very insightful about the financing industry in Uganda, and across the region. I hope you enjoy.

READ MORE AT:
https://theeastafricabusinesspodcast.com/2017/03/15/lease-financing-giving-motorcycle-taxi-drivers-the-ability-to-own-with-michael-wilkerson-from-tugende/



 
 
Creating linkages in agriculture to improve farmer incomes, with Maria Biswalo from Ninayo
Creating linkages in agriculture to improve farmer incomes, with Maria Biswalo from Ninayo
03/08/2017 | 1895

A big issue in Tanzania, and indeed the rest of East Africa, is connecting agriculture buyers and sellers.

The fact that produce goes bad because it can’t find a buyer is a real problem
in terms of the incomes that farmers can receive.

Ninayo is a marketplace where farmers can list their produce, giving buyers a place to search for goods.

Maria and I discuss how the marketplace is being built, the plans for making revenue and how they are using Facebook to their advantage.

We were in a cafe and so at some point you can hear people in the background. We’ve done our best to edit this out, but apologies if you find it distracting.

READ MORE AT:
https://theeastafricabusinesspodcast.com/2017/03/08/agriculture-marketplaces-building-a-platform-for-farmer-produce-in-tanzania-with-maria-biswalo-from-ninayo/



 
 
How Lynk is building a
How Lynk is building a "TaskRabbit for Kenya", with the founders Adam and Johannes
03/01/2017 | 2143

A huge amount of employment in East Africa exists in the informal sector.

People often working on an ad hoc basis with little record of what they do.

This means that it is difficult for workers to build a reputation, and for customers generate trust.

Adam and Johannes at Lynk see a great opportunity to use technology to bring value in this broad sector.

We talk about how the founding story of their services marketplace above a hardware store, the processes around matching customers and workers, and their vision for how data can bring benefits to whole sector.

It’s a super interesting episode, and I hope you enjoy

READ MORE AT:
https://theeastafricabusinesspodcast.com/2017/03/01/service-marketplaces-taskrabbit-for-kenya-with-adam-and-johannes-from-lynk/



 
 
Game-changing technology that allows those with low-income to purchase goods on credit
Game-changing technology that allows those with low-income to purchase goods on credit
02/22/2017 | 1949

If you don’t have much money there are lots of things that you can’t buy.

This might sound simplistic, but in a country where a high proportion of the population have low disposable income it means that, as a manufacturer of products, there is a huge number of people who you can’t access.

Unless… you could just give it to them have them pay you back over time.

This is the opportunity that Angaza has seen, and they have developed a software platform to allow manufacturers to switch off devices if credit payments aren’t paid.

Doing so puts products in the hands of people who otherwise couldn’t afford it.

Lindsay is the Head of the Africa office and we discuss the history of the company, considerations for giving products on credit and applying their technology to a range of different products.

It’s also similar, but different, to BBOXX who featured on an early episode called “Solar Systems”. You might be interested in listening to that too.

READ MORE AT:
https://theeastafricabusinesspodcast.com/2017/02/22/hardware-technology-remotely-controlling-solar-products-to-open-up-new-markets-with-lindsay-caldwell-from-angaza/



 
 
Why lack of working capital chokes the Kenyan food industry, and how Umati Capital solves this
Why lack of working capital chokes the Kenyan food industry, and how Umati Capital solves this
02/15/2017 | 1897

Working capital in East Africa is tough to get your hands on.

Umati Capital are looking to help, using technology to give credit where banks won’t, typically through giving food producers an advance when a big order comes in.

Ivan and I talk about how the legal environment means issuing credit is tough, how they evaluate their clients, and their vision to professionalise the supply chain across the continent.

It’s similar to the SME Financing episode with Bakka from Patasente, so give that a listen too if you find this interested.

I also should note that the only room available in their co-working space was quite echo-y, and so the audio quality for this interview isn’t great.

A couple of answers get lost and so I’m sorry about that.

Nevertheless, I hope that doesn’t detract from what is a very interesting interview

READ MORE AT:
https://theeastafricabusinesspodcast.com/2017/02/15/invoice-financing-smoothing-access-to-capital-in-food-industry-with-ivan-mbowa-from-umati-capital/



 
 
Where does your tea come from? Toby Theobald from Chai Tausi in Tanzania explains
Where does your tea come from? Toby Theobald from Chai Tausi in Tanzania explains
02/08/2017 | 2243

Tea is a product that has a strong industrial base in East Africa.

It’s been going for years, meaning that many companies have emerged and there is a pretty competitive landscape.

In this episode I speak with Toby, Operations Manager at Chai Tausi in Tanzania

We discuss the supply and sales network that they have in place, the best conditions for growing tea across the region and the considerations when it comes to making their blend.

I’ve spoken to a lot of high tech companies on my tour in East Africa but this is a proper old school business that we chat about.

I hope you enjoy it as much I did.


READ MORE AT:

https://theeastafricabusinesspodcast.com/2017/02/08/tea-talking-cuppas-from-plant-to-mug-with-toby-theobald-from-chai-tausi/



 
 
"Netflix for Africa": how Tango TV is creating a platform for streaming local East African content
02/01/2017 | 2068

Most people like to be entertained.

Soon after getting a smartphone, people in East Africa start to seek out entertainment in the form of videos on Youtube not even considering the idea of a traditional television which has to stick to a schedule and requires being at home

Internationally, the dominant “on-demand” video service is Netflix though the content isn’t very relatable to the African market.

Victor and I discuss Tango TV, the Netflix alternative starting in Tanzania

We discuss the current media distribution model in Tanzania, considerations of building a video streaming app in East Africa and why the local market won’t watch Game of Thrones even if it was in Swahili

It’s a very interesting conversation that we have, and so I hope you enjoy.


READ MORE AT:
https://theeastafricabusinesspodcast.com/2017/02/01/on-demand-video-building-netflix-for-africa-with-victor-mnyawami-from-tango-tv/



 
 
Digital transformation in Tanzania hospitals - how Geek Technologies make local businesses paperless
Digital transformation in Tanzania hospitals - how Geek Technologies make local businesses paperless
01/25/2017 | 1817

As more of East Africa goes online, they need web services.

The trend is towards broader access to the internet and with that
a demand towards bringing more and more offline interactions into the digital world.

In Tanzania, this is exactly what Geek Technologies are doing

Mbelwa and I discuss the trend towards making services digital, how they win customers and why they decided to name their business Geek Technologies

It’s an insightful interview about technology in the country, and so I hope you enjoy


READ MORE AT:
https://theeastafricabusinesspodcast.com/2017/01/25/web-services-creating-paperless-systems-in-tanzania-with-mbelwa-mchayungu-from-geek-technologies/



 
 
How Living Labs teaches entrepreneurship to rural Tanzanians, with Victoria John
How Living Labs teaches entrepreneurship to rural Tanzanians, with Victoria John
01/18/2017 | 1780

Education is something which a lot of people are hungry for.

Living Lab is a non-profit organisation in Tanzania that looks to empower people in low income communities
through giving training in entrepreneurship and leadership

In this interview, Victoria and I discuss the demographics of their participants, the logistics around organising rural education programmes and why liquid soap production is a popular business idea

READ MORE AT:
https://theeastafricabusinesspodcast.com/2017/01/18/business-skills-teaching-entrepreneurship-in-rural-tanzania-with-victoria-john-from-living-labs/



 
 
Cycling with elephants: breaking new ground in Tanzanian travel with Mejah Mbuya from Afriroots
Cycling with elephants: breaking new ground in Tanzanian travel with Mejah Mbuya from Afriroots
01/11/2017 | 2020

When most people think of East Africa, they visualise safari.

The region is home to many large and exotic animals which parade through the national parks

Mejah runs Afriroots, a tour company which focuses on experiences that are off the beaten track

We discuss the different customer types they have, how he started his company with $200 and what to do if you ever become confronted by a lion.

We were also next to where an aerobics class was taking place, and so if you hear some throbbing beats in the background, it’s just that.

Either way, it’s a really interesting discussion about the tourism market in Tanzania and so I hope you enjoy.

READ MORE AT:
https://theeastafricabusinesspodcast.com/2017/01/11/off-beaten-tours-breaking-new-ground-in-tanzanian-travel-with-mejah-mbuya-from-afriroots/



 
 
Building
Building "Spotify for Africa" with Martin Nielsen from Mdundo
01/04/2017 | 2002

One of the things I’ve found interesting is how proven international business models are being applied in East Africa.

Music streaming is one of these.

In years gone by people in Europe and the US would own CDs but now stream through services like Spotify, which pays royalties to its artists and makes music accessible to all.

Martin, who started Mdundo, is doing this in East Africa, though… it’s a little different.

We discuss the particulars of the African music market, the considerations in scaling their business and what they look for in hiring talent.

The room is slightly echo-y, so apologies in advance, however I hope this doesn’t detract from our very interesting conversation


READ MORE AT:
https://theeastafricabusinesspodcast.com/2017/01/04/music-streaming-building-spotify-for-africa-with-martin-nielsen-from-mdundo/&a



 
 
Selling cakes (and training cake makers), with Grace Murugi from Cakes.co.ke
Selling cakes (and training cake makers), with Grace Murugi from Cakes.co.ke
12/28/2016 | 1977

If you consider businesses that bring people joy, for me at least, cake is one of them.

It’s also a product which is being bought by the emerging middle class especially in Kenya, with custom made ones being sold for up to $180.

Grace not only makes these cakes, but teaches others how to with her Cake Academy.

We discuss the customers who are buying cakes, how she taught her team to run the business when she went on maternity leave and innovations in the cake industry.

The interview took place outside her shop, and so there is a bit of background noise and not all of the answers are fully audible.

READ MORE AT:
https://theeastafricabusinesspodcast.com/2016/12/28/cakes-selling-everyday-treats-for-aspirational-kenyans-with-grace-murugi-from-cakes-co-ke/



 
 
The CEO of iHub gives an overview of the East Africa tech ecosystem, with Kamal Bhattacharya
The CEO of iHub gives an overview of the East Africa tech ecosystem, with Kamal Bhattacharya
12/21/2016 | 2131

One of the first places I had earmarked for learning about business in Kenya was the iHub.

From reading up on business in East Africa it was always mentioned as the heart of the tech scene
not only in Kenya but also of the whole region.

In fact, when rumours leaked that I would be interviewing Kamal for this podcast, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg made sure to drop in for a visit when he was in Africa in late July.

Kamal and I discuss the government’s role in fostering scalable businesses across East Africa, what makes a good pitch and the areas of growth that he sees in the Kenyan economy.

It’s a very interesting conversation that we have, and I hope you enjoy


READ MORE AT:
https://theeastafricabusinesspodcast.com/2016/12/21/ihub-an-overview-of-the-east-africa-entreprenurial-ecosystem-with-kamal-bhattacharya-ceo-of-ihub/



 
 
The effusive Dr Suudi gives us a taste of his Ugandan radio adverts
The effusive Dr Suudi gives us a taste of his Ugandan radio adverts
12/14/2016 | 1975

Coming from the UK, one of the biggest differences in East Africa has been how products are marketed.

In the co-working space I was at in London we would talk about Google Ad campaigns and reaching users online through content marketing. Here though, the radio is a dominant form of advertising.

In this episode I talk with Suudi who runs Wave Records.

We discuss his extensive experience in the radio industry, why old car radios can only play on restricted frequency and listen to some of his catchy jingles, including a slightly… interesting one about a Ugandan girl getting a Chinese boyfriend (at around 18 minutes)

We were in his recording studio and so there might be a bit of activity/ phone interference going on in the background and it gets a bit echo-y at the end.  Sorry about that.

Hopefully it won’t detract from one of the… most unique interviews I’ve had.


READ MORE AT:
https://theeastafricabusinesspodcast.com/2016/12/14/radio-adverts-marketing-on-uganda-radio-stations-with-dr-suudi-from-wave-records/



 
 
A history of surveying and market research in Kenya with Boniface Ngahu from SBO Research
A history of surveying and market research in Kenya with Boniface Ngahu from SBO Research
12/07/2016 | 1970

Understanding the consumer is an important part of a lot of businesses.

Boniface is a director at SBO Research, a Market Research company that has been in business in Kenya since the mid-nineties.

After finding them on Google I went in for a chat and we spoke about his perspective of the market.

We discuss the change in political conditions that brought about the growth in market research industry, how drones are assisting researchers and whether an insurance policy will pay out if an eagle eats a chicken.


READ MORE AT:
https://theeastafricabusinesspodcast.com/2016/12/07/market-research-a-history-of-surveying-and-gathering-insights-in-kenya-with-boniface-ngahu-from-sbo-research/



 
 
Supporting Ugandan small holder farmers with affordable services, with Peter Nyeko from Reparle
Supporting Ugandan small holder farmers with affordable services, with Peter Nyeko from Reparle
11/30/2016 | 1969

During my travels in East Africa, time and again people would point to the low prices that farmers receive as the main blocker to development.

Low prices come from not being able to store produce, nor do the basic milling to give it more value. It’s difficult though, as much of the basic infrastructure such as transport, power and facilities are absent in the many rural areas that exist in the region.

Peter Nyeko set up Reparle as a marriage of three organisations to solve exactly this. We talk about the environment that many rural farmers are living, how Reparle learnt about the conditions they worked in and the considerations with planning out a large scale project like this.

We also talk a fair bit about biomass, and so if you’re interested in learning more about this solar alternative to clean energy creation, look out for the Clean Cooking episode I did with Ziwa from Green Bioenergy.

READ MORE AT:
https://theeastafricabusinesspodcast.com/2016/11/30/farmer-support-providing-small-holder-farmers-with-affordable-value-adding-services-with-peter-nyeko-of-reparle/



 
 
Why biomass charcoal cooking stoves are saving lives, with Ziwa Hillington from Green Bioenergy
Why biomass charcoal cooking stoves are saving lives, with Ziwa Hillington from Green Bioenergy
11/30/2016 | 2073

Cooking is an everyday activity that most people engage in.

In places where you don’t have gas, charcoal is often used to fire up a stove.

Whilst people have been doing this for years, it is not very environmentally friendly, and it generates smoke in often confined areas of a home.

Green Bioenergy is a social enterprise all about creating a clean cooking environment.

Their two products are an improved cooking stove and smokeless charcoal briquettes.

Ziwa and I discuss how they sell briquettes through rural agents, how they keep the complete supply chain produced in Uganda, and the prospects for taking this approach internationally.

We conducted the interview in the garden of the Green Bioenergy office/ house and so there might be the odd bird tweeting in the background.

Either way, I hope this doesn’t distract you from the interesting chat that we have.


READ MORE AT:
https://theeastafricabusinesspodcast.com/2016/11/30/clean-cooking-using-renewable-biomass-charcoal-to-create-a-sustainable-smokeless-kitchen-with-ziwa-hillington-of-green-bioenergy/



 
 
Coworking Space: giving entrepreneurs in Uganda a collaborative place to work
Coworking Space: giving entrepreneurs in Uganda a collaborative place to work
11/23/2016 | 2420

When people start on a business idea, they typically go and work out of a co-working space so they can be amongst like-minded individuals, and also get support in starting their venture.

The first of these hubs in Uganda was called Hive Colab, and I speak with Gilbert, the programme manager about his view of the interesting businesses coming out of the space.

He really has his finger on the pulse of innovative companies being created in Uganda, and we speak about plenty, including how and why Hive Colab are looking to attract the top university graduates in the country, the exorbitant cost of internet access, and how he sees opportunities for the government to help promote what they are doing.


READ MORE AT:
https://theeastafricabusinesspodcast.com/2016/11/23/coworking-space-giving-entrepreneurs-in-uganda-a-collaborative-place-to-work-with-gilbert-arinda-of-hive-colab/



 
 
Why Ugandans are demanding
Why Ugandans are demanding "masculine" motorbikes, with Pankaj Tiwari from Miracle Motors
11/16/2016 | 1968

Arriving in Kampala (the capital city of Uganda) one of the first thing people notice are how many motorbikes there are.

It’s the de facto mode of transport for getting taxied around the city, in a place where car congestion is heavy.

Near where I was staying was a showroom for Miracle Motors, a subsidiary of the larger Indian conglomerate Mahindra Group.

After walking in, the head of the office Pankaj agreed to an interview, and we spoke about the many customer types of motorbikes, considerations of importing unfinished goods, and the evolution of the personal transport market in the region.


READ MORE AT:
https://theeastafricabusinesspodcast.com/2016/11/16/motorbikes-the-extensive-market-for-ugandan-two-wheelers-with-pankaj-tiwari-from-mir



 
 
The exciting ways brands can engage with a growing youth market in Uganda, with Belguin Prosper
The exciting ways brands can engage with a growing youth market in Uganda, with Belguin Prosper
11/09/2016 | 2030

Uganda has the world’s youngest population.

Brands are waking up to the idea that if they can create loyalty amongst this large section of society, they will reap the rewards for years to come.

But how?

Well a lot of them are going to Belguin, who started Young & Free International, an organisation that helps brands engage with the youth of Uganda.

Belguin gives an excellent overview of his journey so far, what campaigns he has seen work best, and what he learned from hosting a cultural exchange with students from Somalia…


READ MORE AT:
https://theeastafricabusinesspodcast.com/2016/11/09/marketing-how-brands-engage-with-the-growing-youth-market-in-uganda-with-belguin-prosper-of-young-and-free-international/



 
 
Make up for African women - why imported cosmetics don't work and no-one trusts the Chinese
Make up for African women - why imported cosmetics don't work and no-one trusts the Chinese
11/02/2016 | 2787

Make up is not an industry that I can profess to know much about, but after speaking with Sylvia, the founder of Paramour Cosmetics, I feel I know a lot more

In this episode we talk about how Western make up is unsuitable for African women, the way that Sylvia trains her staff to help customers with their mental wellness, and how the business is looking to expand in the US after Sylvia was accepted onto a programme designed by President Obama to find the next 1000 African leaders who will make an impact.

Sylvia was also the person who introduced me to Gloria (the founder of Kampala Fashion Week) and so if you’re interested in more about East African beauty and fashion, be sure to give that episode a listen too.

For now at least I hope you enjoy Sylvia and I’s conversation all about make up.


READ MORE AT:
https://theeastafricabusinesspodcast.com/2016/11/02/make-up-growing-the-ma



 
 
How a credit marketplace can unlock the potential in SMEs, with George Bakka from Patasente
How a credit marketplace can unlock the potential in SMEs, with George Bakka from Patasente
10/26/2016 | 2111

Interest rates in Uganda, and indeed the whole East Africa region, are by Western standards, very high.

A small business looking for a short term loan from a bank will be expected to pay in the region of 10% interest per month.

In an economy where payment is often made upon delivery, this causes problems in terms of getting access to working capital.

In this episode, Bakka and I discuss Patasente, the platform he has started to essentially crowdfund credit agreements for small businesses so that they can raise funds to take on new contracts that come in, and grow their business.


READ MORE AT:
https://theeastafricabusinesspodcast.com/2016/10/26/sme-financing-building-an-enterprise-focused-credit-marketplace-with-george-bakka-from-patasente/



 
 
Glass half full: how Jibu's innovative franchise provides clean, affordable water across East Africa
Glass half full: how Jibu's innovative franchise provides clean, affordable water across East Africa
10/19/2016 | 2571

If you consider businesses that solve Tier A problems, safe drinking water is pretty much top of the list.

Across East Africa people are unable to drink from the tap, and so are left to either boil their own, or buy expensive water in a bottle.

Galen started Jibu to address the need, creating a franchise where local entrepreneurs could treat tap water at source and sell it in reusable bottles to people in their neighbourhood.

We discuss how the business started, the benefits and challenges that come from the franchise model, and Jibu’s vision to provide convenient safe drinking water for all.


READ MORE AT:
https://theeastafricabusinesspodcast.com/2016/10/19/bottled-water-franchise-decentralising-water-treatment-to-empower-entrepreneurs-in-east-africa-with-galen-welsch-of-jibu/



 
 
New York, Paris, Kampala..? How and why Gloria Wavamunno started Uganda's international Fashion Week
New York, Paris, Kampala..? How and why Gloria Wavamunno started Uganda's international Fashion Week
10/12/2016 | 2623

Across the world the pinnacle display of a country’s fashion is its annual “Fashion Week”. London, New York and Paris lead the way in this showcase of designers pushing the frontiers of design and style.

Until Gloria Wavamunno started it a couple of years there was no Fashion Week in Kampala, Uganda.

In this episode we discuss how and why she started the event, and cover a lot about the cultural and societal issues around fashion as well as giving an overview of the creative industries as a whole.

Kampala Fashion Week 2016 is 20th – 22nd October 2016


READ MORE AT:
https://theeastafricabusinesspodcast.com/2016/10/12/fashion-how-and-why-gloria-wavamunno-started-kampala-fashion-week/



 
 
Smoothies: how a growing Rwandan enterprise sells healthy juices, with Anitha Dusabe of Twistiblendz
Smoothies: how a growing Rwandan enterprise sells healthy juices, with Anitha Dusabe of Twistiblendz
10/05/2016 | 1668

There’s (literally) tonnes of fruit in Rwanda, but only a tiny fraction of it ends up being whizzed up and drunk as smoothies. When it does, it’s usually at Twistiblendz.

I speak with Anitha about the leap she took to start the venture (in partnership with Giles and an organisation named SMGF), her plans for expansion, and the general market for healthy produce in the country

READ MORE AT:
https://theeastafricabusinesspodcast.com/2016/10/05/smoothies-a-small-but-growing-rwandan-enterprise-selling-healthy-juices-with-anitha-dusabe-of-twistiblendz/



 
 
How using solar energy can drastically improve how farmers water their crops, with Flavia Howard
How using solar energy can drastically improve how farmers water their crops, with Flavia Howard
09/28/2016 | 1951

Water is fundamental to any sort of agricultural business. As it stands, a large portion of Rwandan farmers only get it from the sky, in the form of sporadic rainfall. This is despite plentiful lakes full of water being mere metres away.

Irrigation is the general term process for artificially getting water on these crops, and Flavia and I discuss her evaluation of the market and the product she has been looking at (Future Pump) that provides a solar powered irrigation pump to smallholder farmers.

READ MORE AT:
https://theeastafricabusinesspodcast.com/2016/09/28/irrigation-systems-an-overview-of-innovations-in-how-farmers-in-rwanda-water-their-crops-with-flavia-howard/



 
 
Beanz Meanz Development: value addition by cooking and packing nutritious beans
Beanz Meanz Development: value addition by cooking and packing nutritious beans
09/21/2016 | 1750

From a GDP perspective, any business that “adds value” to a supply chain  is a good thing. Traditionally countries like Rwanda have been just growing agricultural produce, with other companies/ countries undertaking investment and reaping the benefits of manufacturing of a higher value product.

FarmFresh is  different in that regard. I visited Christian Heremans at their “pilot factory” (a converted house) to see how his company are taking raw beans, and turning them into well packaged cooked beans for consumption in and out of Rwanda.


READ MORE AT:
https://theeastafricabusinesspodcast.com/2016/09/21/cooked-beans-the-food-business-of-bean-processing-in-rwanda-with-christian-heremans-of-farmfresh/



 
 
Why GetIt need to use Whatsapp to deliver food produce in Rwanda, with Lauren Russell
Why GetIt need to use Whatsapp to deliver food produce in Rwanda, with Lauren Russell
09/14/2016 | 2436

Fresh produce delivery has traditionally been an informal industry in Rwanda. Reliably ordering food isn’t really a thing and so after finishing a contract at the Nike Foundation, Lauren Russell decided to set up GetIt as a way for businesses and consumers to have an easy way of ordering food.

We go into how companies like GetIt are compensating for legacy infrastructure deficiencies, considerations in linking international brands to frontier markets, and how it’s now much easier for Rwandans to buy ingredients for a lasagne.

READ MORE AT:
https://theeastafricabusinesspodcast.com/2016/09/14/food-delivery-the-logistics-of-delivering-produce-in-rwanda-via-whatsapp-with-lauren-russell-of-getit/



 
 
Why no toothpicks are made in East Africa? A market evaluation, with Olly Cassels
Why no toothpicks are made in East Africa? A market evaluation, with Olly Cassels
09/07/2016 | 1266

There’s a surprisingly interesting business to be had in little wooden sticks. Like much of the region, toothpicks are a staple at nearly every restaurant in Rwanda and this is a discussion about the industry operates.

Olly Cassels gives us an overview of the market from his research into the timber production market, along with a lucrative business to be had in other areas of wood processing.

READ MORE AT:
https://theeastafricabusinesspodcast.com/2016/09/07/toothpicks-a-market-evaluation-of-the-toothpick-industry-in-east-africa-with-olly-cassels/



 
 
Electricity from the sun: how BBOXX's off-grid solar systems power rural Rwanda, with Justus Mucyo
Electricity from the sun: how BBOXX's off-grid solar systems power rural Rwanda, with Justus Mucyo
09/04/2016 | 1793

Off grid electricity is a big thing in Rwanda. The country is not going through the arduous process of establishing the grid, and then getting everybody to connect to it, and so for their energy a lot of Rwandan households are instead are going straight to source: the sun. BBOXX is an organisation providing  such a service at an affordable rate across the country.

Justus (BBOXX’s Rwanda MD) and I discuss the evolution of the sector, adapting customer’s mindsets from ownership to service, and the outlook for “off grid” energy.

READ MORE AT:
https://theeastafricabusinesspodcast.com/2016/09/04/solar-power-systems-one-of-rwandas-leading-solar-panel-companies-with-justus-mucyo-of-bboxx/



 
 
Accelerating Rwanda: Aphrodice Mutangana explains how the kLab hub is fostering entrepreneurship
Accelerating Rwanda: Aphrodice Mutangana explains how the kLab hub is fostering entrepreneurship
09/01/2016 | 1336

Rwanda’s demography means entrepreneurship is strongly promoted as a means of providing private sector employment for a young population. Aphrodice is General Manager of kLab, Rwanda’s first entrepreneurial hub, and explains how his organisation is doing just that.

kLab opened in 2012 and offers free WiFi, space, and mentorship to businesses starting up. It is a Public Private Partnership that is seeing its membership grow each month.

READ MORE AT:
https://theeastafricabusinesspodcast.com/2016/09/01/business-accelerators-rwandas-first-entrepreneurial-hub-with-aphrodice-mutangana-of-klab/



 
 
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