Kenya has 16.5 million of some of the poorest people? These number can help redefine what “good business practice” is.
We start with a simple proposition. If we stop thinking of the poor as victims or a burden and start recognizing them as resilient and creative entrepreneurs and value-conscious customers, a whole new world of opportunity will open up. 16.5 million people can be the engine of the next round of global trade and prosperity. It can be a source of innovation.
Key number one is harnessing resources and driving them deliberately to poverty alleviation initiatives.
Entrepreneurship on a massive scale will demand innovations in technology, products and services, and business models. It will require organizational and governance innovations as well.
The dominant assumption is that the poor have no purchasing power and therefore do not represent a viable market. But the truth is we can empower them; then serve them as integral customers.
Poverty is a demeaning and degrading state. Many Kenyans – 46 percent now – are still unable to eke out a living, and they live under pretty torturous conditions either in unproductive countryside or in slums. Their reality is a single meal a day, in an 8-by-8 foot mud hut. Their days are a matter of staying above an endless tide of mud and waste. And what is their escape? Holding on to a stubborn sense that even this place is a neighborhood, and these circumstances a life.
The future of your business depends on how you react to the 16.5 million poor Kenyans.
Now every Kenyan can be a nation builder.