Startup School

It is commonly said that startups are here to save the world. Maybe not to that extent but the current state of events show that we are at a time whereby we need to harness opportunities to create great enterprises. I am not that old but i don’t believe 20 or 50 years ago there were as many opportunities as they are now. The opportunities i am referring to are mainly in two fronts: technology and information.

Today it is easier to access tools that can help you make a great company. Access to information helps you avoid some of mistakes, learn best practices and scale up. Majority of industries are nascent today meaning that even though there are challenges, they also provide opportunities for solutions. Some of these solutions can be business based solutions. Consider that we are able to learn skills, tactics and ways of doing things through the internet. Facilities such as Y Combinator’s startup school is a great information resource for starting or established entrepreneurs. Earlier, Sam Altman started inviting established founders to teach startup class at Stanford University. Now they have startup school where you can view lectures, talks and live office hour sessions. I find the live office hour sessions to be particularly useful. YC partners talk to early stage founders in batches and assess their progress and give valuable feedback. Each office hour session covers about an hour with batches of about 3 startups each covering approximately 20 minutes. There are other videos on: how to start a startup, product-market fit, growth tactics, how to build and manage teams, PR among others. This, from one of the most successful startup accelerator, is worth some attention. Videos are posted every week. This is a great resource not only for entrepreneurs but anyone in general. check out http://www.startupschool.org.

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Milestones: Ubunifu SACCO

As Ubunifu SACCO, we finally held our first ever Annual General Meeting (AGM) on April 27 2017. The month of May also marks two years since Ubunifu SACCO received certificate of incorporation thereby becoming a fully registered SACCO under the Ministry of Industrialization, Trade and Cooperatives. Therefore it is a double celebration for these important milestones. HAPPY BIRTHDAY UBUNIFU SACCO. The idea behind forming Ubunifu SACCO was a result of members need for an entity that would enable us able to save and access affordable financial services. Majority of the current members are freelancers undertaking online work as well as other related businesses. Offering services that meet the needs of this target group continues to be the major focus of Ubunifu SACCO. Leading up to Ubunifu first AGM, Ubunifu SACCO has made progress in various areas outlined below.

Sacco website

At the start of the year, 2016 the board of management took steps to ensure members enjoyed efficient services from the SACCO. The first major step was of putting the SACCO on the road to making it paperless. The board envisioned that in this age of technology innovation, online operations would ultimately reduce operational costs in the medium and long term while ensuring faster and efficient service delivery. The SACCO set up a website http://www.ubunifusacco.com. This was first step. Members are now able to easily apply for a loan online without filling any paperwork. The next step that is now on focus is to form a member portal which would enable members to view online statements and track their own contributions, loans and other aspects.

Credit facilities:

The backbone of any SACCO is the credit products it offers. In 2016, we saw tremendous growth in this area. The uptake of normal loans has continued to grow. The introduction of TEKE TEKE LOAN was received well by members since it enabled them to access instant loans processed within a few hours of a working day. Furthermore, TEKE TEKE LOAN is issued without the need for guarantors as long as one is a fully paid up member and has contributed monthly savings. Members can apply for the loan online and get it via mobile money transfer services. The initial loan limit was up to ksh 20,000 but due to increased requests from members, the loan was limit was moved upwards to ksh 30,000. We continue to make progress towards ensuring the SACCO is responsive to member needs and the focus in 2017 is to introduce more savings and credit options that directly address member needs.

SACCO Accounts Assistant

Towards the end of 2016, the board deemed it fit to hire a accounts assistant to assist in accounting as well as marketing efforts. This was due to overwhelming amount of work involved especially in managing member monthly contributions, loan applications and processing and marketing efforts. The board put out an advertisement notice in October 2016. After a rigorous recruitment process, Fednarnd Chikira emerged as the best qualified candidate and became the first intern for the SACCO. Fednarnd served well in the first three months and the contract was renewed for another three months in February 2017. Overall, he  helped us streamline our operations mainly related to ensuring SACCO books of accounts are up to date. He has also contributed in marketing efforts mainly related to social media. We look forward to a longer term engagement with Fednarnd in 2017.

In summation, 2016 has been a year that has mainly focused on laying the ground work for future growth. As the board of management, we believe that in these foundations will put the SACCO on a growth trajectory. For 2017, our major focus is on member growth, improving efficiency in SACCO operations and new products. We believe that if we keep focusing on improving our services to serve the needs of members we will ultimately attract new members from our target market. Furthermore, we are keen on research and marketing and in order to seek ways to make our products even better for our existing members as well as to attract more members. Together with the support of members, we can make Ubunifu SACCO to grow even further as we DREAM CREATE and ACHIEVE.

Chris Mugendi Kariuki

Secretary, Ubunifu SACCO.

this post originally appeared on Ubunifu Sacco blog here: http://ubunifusacco.com/reflecting-on-ubunifu-sacco-first-agm/.