An East African creative economy catalyst fund, HEVA, has unveiled an online e-commerce platform. Dubbed ‘Uhuru Market’, it is said to soon enable over 1,000 traders to reach more customers through the online platform.
Uhuru Market; What Is It?
This is the first market in the region adopting a digital approach to small scale businesses. Namely; micro, small and medium-sized fashion and apparel producers and retailers.
According to HEVA, the aims to
- Address the clothes industry within the market ecosystem.
- Formalize their trade with a view to promoting the ideals of “Buy Kenya, Build Kenya”. This is since quality and desirable clothes are manufactured here in Kenya.
The market offers products through the online platform, such as men’s and women’s corporate uniforms, school uniforms, and kids and baby wear, among other accessories, as it aims to diversify its production.
How it Works
- Through the e-commerce site, co-developed with Vivo Activewear Ltd, shoppers can search and shop for a wide range of products. The focus is on select stores in the open-air market.
- Delivery-wise, a network of riders and other delivery partners will fulfil customer orders within 24 – 48 hours after order placement. There is a fee for deliveries within Nairobi and across the country.
- There is also a physical customer care centre and customer service representatives who will address customer inquiries.
Speaking at the launch, HEVA Fund Managing Partner, George Gachara had this to say;
“Transformations in the landscape of trade and technology are fundamentally altering the way Kenyans purchase and consume goods and services. Especially with the critical migration onto the online space catalysed by the COVID-19 pandemic. E-commerce is also proving essential due to convenience and easier adherence to social distancing rules.”
He continues to say;
“Businesses looking to set themselves up for long-term success should increase digitization, improve supply chain resilience, and redesign their business strategy,” Mr Gachara added.
Moreover, to ensure quality and to drive the sustainability of the program, is partnering with the Technical University of Kenya for capacity building. Uhuru Market traders have digital, business, and technical skills such as
- Garment Design and Construction
- Bag Design,
- Basics of Quality Control as part of capacity building.
The platform currently has over 1,000 traders into the Kenya Fashion Council (KFCO) through a group membership subscription. HEVA also provides convenient registration services for NHIF and NSSF to the traders.
In a bid to increase the Uhuru Market SACCO’s capacity and enrol new members, HEVA has also contracted Realtime Technology to digitize Jormat SACCO from an analogue system to a digital paperless system.