RESILIENCE

Women surpass men in investment during pandemic, new survey indicates

With 1.7 million Kenyans losing their jobs during the pandemic, over 70 percent of those jobs were lost by male employees

In Summary
  • Notify Logistics analysed data on its platform and found that more women than men remained resilient even as Covid-19 paralysed business operations.
  • Boniface Mutunga, an expert in trade and finance says that women have become more enterprising during the pandemic
A woman and her child at her business in Kibagare slum.
A woman and her child at her business in Kibagare slum.
Image: COURTESY

Women have by far surpassed men in terms of investment in small businesses during the past seven months, data released by a local firm indicates.

Notify Logistics, which specializes in offering affordable rentals for businesses in Kenya’s major towns analysed data on its platform and found that more women than men remained resilient even as Covid-19 paralysed business operations in every sector.

“Over the past 9 months, 72.9 percent of all our clients were ladies venturing into business in Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu. Only 27.1 percent were men,”the firm notes.

Boniface Mutunga, an expert in trade and finance says that women have become more enterprising during the pandemic due to the African family set up disruption where a man provides for the family.

“Even when we say 1.7 million Kenyans lost jobs during the pandemic, over 70 percent of those jobs were lost by male employees. I believe women, and wives in particular realized that depending on one person in the family is catastrophic. They have moved out of their comfort zones to contribute to the family kitty,” he said.

While starting a business during the crisis has been hard for many business owners, the data further reveals that more youths were ready to risk their resources and invest during the turbulent economic times rather than waiting for the end of the pandemic.

“The average age of investors during the pandemic was 27 years. The youngest being 21 years old while the oldest is 36,” the survey states.

Notify Logistics was founded in 2018, where they invited online businesses to share rent and The Rent-A-Shelf concept was born.

The firm’s Chief Executive Waweru Nderitu says his inspiration was to create a company that focuses on the needs of a small business and give affordable solutions.

For Rent-A-Shelf, the firm identifies a shop in a prime location in an urban centre and partitions it into shelves.

It then hires shop attendants and gets all the necessary licenses for the shop.

The concept helped reduce rent for business owners by over 90 per cent, as they pay about Sh3,000 rent for shops that would otherwise cost Sh60,000.

In 2020, they launched the Buy-2-Rent programme that allows individuals to own a shelf within the Notify shops and earn rent from the shelf.

So far the firm had a total of 348 shops sold during its buy to rent program.

With a total of 74 investors, each investor owns about 5 shelves which stock clothing, footwear, electronics, grocery and beauty products. Others are using them to provide services such as mobile money, hair care, electronic repairs and photography.

It ensures the shelf is occupied by the time one buys it hence minimizing the risk of lacking a business to rent your shelf.

“We have created a AirBnB business model of earning from commercial space, enabling individuals to invest in a shelf in the Notify Platform with zero management,” said Nderitu.

He adds that the purpose of the project is to help people get through the pandemic since many people have lost income streams.

In August 2020, Notify Logistics started Phase 1 and 2 of Buy to rent where they invited business owners and individuals to invest in the shelves.

The introductory phase - phase 1 saw individuals get a return on investment of 87 per cent while Phase 2 which ended on October 7 saw investors earn up to 71 per cent return on their investment.

In November 2020 , the firm launched phase three which targeted small online businesses that cropped up during the period where directives set to control the spread of Covid-19 favoured e-commerce transactions due to reduced physical contact between buyers and sellers.

“We don't charge commissions on sales, we allow the businesses to build a database of their clients as opposed to the current online shops which do not allow sellers to have contact info of their clients,” he adds.

The firm also offers businesses an extensive network of shops in Nairobi, Nakuru, Eldoret and Mombasa as drop-off points for their products.

After that, it opens it and invites online businesses to rent-a-shelf without necessarily owning the whole shop.

It targets small businesses that have an online presence, which it gives a physical outlet where their clients can come and interact with products.