• Natarajan said that technology that facilitates the gathering and analysis of data can be particularly valuable.
• This allows businesses to gain valuable insights into their own performance and the broader market.
Access to technology can become a game changer for businesses in less urban areas, providing a range of benefits that help them thrive and expand.
Lack of access to technology can hinder local economies, particularly in developing countries as the progression in this space plays a crucial role in fostering economic growth.
Zoho Kenya country head Veerakumar Natarajan said that by leveraging tools that automate tasks and utilizing e-commerce platforms, businesses can tap into new markets and streamline operations.
He also said that technology that facilitates the gathering and analysis of data can be particularly valuable.
This allows businesses to gain valuable insights into their own performance and the broader market.
“Armed with such information, businesses can make informed decisions that improve processes, enhance customer experience, and optimise growth,” Natarajan said.
“By leveraging technology in this way, businesses can boost their competitiveness and increase their chances of success, even in a rapidly changing environment."
He noted the integration of technology at the microeconomic level can mitigate inequality and foster wealth creation in economically challenged areas.
This ultimately contributes to the overall macroeconomic development, greater stability, and long-term growth for both individual businesses and the larger communities they serve.
Natarajan suggests tips on how tech can help stimulate micro-economies.
1. Growing small businesses
KNBS statistics show that the SME sector employs at least 86 per cent of the Kenyan population and contributes about 45.5 per cent to the country’s GDP.
Natarajan said that the most obvious area where technology can have a significant micro-economic impact is among small businesses.
He said that SMEs not only create employment opportunities but also play a crucial role in developing the communities in which they operate.
They provide a platform for local talent to showcase their skills and can act as catalysts for attracting other businesses to the region, fostering a supportive ecosystem for economic growth.
“To make work easier, SMEs can use technology to automate time-consuming tasks like inventory management,” Natarajan said.
“E-commerce tools can also significantly expand the reach of SMEs, particularly in remote areas. By leveraging real-time business intelligence, small business owners are able to free up valuable time to focus on their core competencies and drive business growth.”
2. Fostering entrepreneurship through low code
Natarajan said with low-code and no-code tools, entrepreneurs do not need to rely on expensive developer resources to build the applications they need.
Low-code platforms offer a graphic development environment that allows entrepreneurs to build and test their apps, using snippets of pre-written code, allowing for a quicker development process.
“Because low-code platforms eliminate some of the most complex parts of the application development process, such as creating frameworks and linking databases, it becomes easier and faster for entrepreneurs to take their solution to the market."
3. Empowering communities
“With internet connectivity, a startup can function from anywhere,” Natarajan said.
“Opening offices in small towns or rural towns can reduce operational costs significantly gaining a longer runaway to operate.”
He added that when companies hire local talent, they empower individuals to contribute to their communities and address local issues more effectively instead of them needing to seek employment elsewhere.
“The retention of highly skilled and talented youth within the community can lead to innovative solutions and drive empowerment for local populations.”
4. Micro matters
Natarajan said the positive shifts technology brings to individual businesses, entrepreneurs and community organisations may appear small but can have cumulative effects.
“With enough momentum, these effects can ripple from the community to the municipal, provincial, and even national levels,” he added.
He said while it is important to evaluate national macroeconomic policies critically, the influence that technology can have at the microeconomic level should not be overlooked or undervalued.