ICT firm StepWise has launched its Software Development Center, ‘Zalda’- focused on leveraging technology to enable and promote inclusion and socio-economic participation, of the underserved communities.
Zalda is an outgrowth of the StepWise’s Daproim Africa (BPO) and Zalego Academy, (ICT Training and Capacity Building).
Through, its subsidiaries, StepWise has employed over 1000 people with disabilities, raised $3 Million (approx. Ksh.362.2m) total income for marginalized communities, trained over 12000 youth, and offered scholarships to over 1700 underprivileged youth.
StepWise uses the power of technology to train and equip persons from historically underserved communities, particularly, the youth, women, and Persons with Disabilities, to compete and succeed in the 4th Industrial Revolution.
“As we started building out the StepWise ecosystem, it really became imperative for us to be more holistic in how we use technology as a vehicle to create jobs and career opportunities.” stated Laura Chite, Group Chief Commercial Officer, StepWise.
“We started recognizing that we could in-house a lot of what we were equipping our Zalego Academy graduates to improve our own business and create solutions to the problems that Kenyans face which potentially could lead to global solutions.”
According to the International Labour Organization, in 2021 unemployment rate in Kenya increased to 6.6 per cent. A significant percentage of this comprised of youth and, women.
Notably, 67 percent of the disabled population lives in poverty.
“One sure way we can maintain and improve the social and -economic independence for the underserved, is by promoting a rich entrepreneurial culture that will create jobs, grow the economy and uplift the standards of living,” said Laura
“In fact, SMEs account for most businesses in Kenya and are key contributors to job creation and economic development.”
Workflow automation is the key to freeing up SME’s time and allowing them to focus on their core competencies.
Automated workflow solutions are preferred over manual processes or application-specific tools of operations in a company as it acts as a better collaboration tool which improves efficiency by more than 35 percent.
“Despite the growing need for technology to boost operational efficiencies, most business owners inaccurately think that automation costs a fortune and is only reserved for big corporates, when in reality, growing businesses should also be equally as keen on streamlining their operations to realize productivity,” said Cyrus Njuguna, Zalda, Head of IT and Infrastructure.
Studies also show that small businesses’ employees work twice as much as regular employees by 60 extra hours or more per week.
The cost of manual operation far outweighs the cost of running an automated system yet resistance to change remains the third biggest challenge to scaling automation in organizations.” Cyrus adds.
Recognizing this need, Zalda has developed cloud-based solutions to help small businesses facilitate cross collaboration, automate processes, and facilitate remote work and learning. They are:
- Petty Cash Management System, Wisely Wallet – A built to integrate and manage an organization’s petty cash, employee imprest, staff salary advances.
- Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Wisely ERP – Built for growing businesses, affordable and customizable for any industry and needs, with automation capabilities SaaS -subscription basis and is centrally hosted.
- NikkoWorkx, designed to remotely manage teams of outsourcing professionals. NikkoWorkx has empowered over 4100 women and 1700 persons with disabilities in Kenya to earn a decent income, to help pay for their education or support their families and communities back home.
- e-Learning Management System – Today, StepWise e-learning marks a milestone of delivering Softwared Development Training to over 2500 students in Africa.
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