Towards Sustainable Innovation – Funding Innovations through Local (Grassroots) Tech Community Cooperatives
It is agreed that capital is often a major challenge of tech-innovations both at inception and commercialization. Within the vibrant Kenyan tech-innovation community, we have witnessed a rising prevalence of capital raised through venture or angel investors. We have also seen a proliferation of development aid and angel funds financing our tech-innovation sub sector.
The IT and tech-innovation community needs to engage itself in its own financial inclusion. The local tech community needs to invest in themselves as well as offer savings and credit facilities to enhance the sustainability of tech entrepreneurship a shilling-at-a-time. Targets for financial inclusion should be non-discriminatory both in sourcing and disbursement, and this can effectively be achieved through co-operatives. Is it time for the local tech fraternity to issue a call for Harambee?
The tech-innovators’ Savings and Credit Cooperative (SACCO) can financially include our local tech community and by offering corporate and personal savings & credit facilities, create a formalized channel of investment into local innovations to enhance the sustainability of tech entrepreneurship and strengthen the financial pillar in our tech-innovation ecosystem.
The Tech-Innovators SACCO, shall be located in Nairobi, Kenya, with a chapter already in formation in Kampala, Uganda. The main aim of the SACCO is to provide a financial product for savings and credit to its members (innovators, IT professionals, tech-innovators and other IT stakeholders) encouraging them to save.
The SACCO shall be a collective platform for financial resources, pooling of ICT talent, enabling local innovation and supporting the local IT sector. The SACCO shall also seek to augment ICT sector players by capturing the opportunity for a unified savings and credit product for the sector which should eventually become a robust foundation for local tech investment. The SACCO savings and credit facility shall be a ubiquitous facility that can be accessed by any innovator or IT professional without the need to establish a winner-loser tech society. The SACCO shall unlock local grassroots funding and give a formal mechanism for local investors, big or small to take part in the impending technology revolution. In this way the SACCO shall drive inclusive innovation and effectively engender scalable local and global innovations.
Co-operatives have been a key driver in the Kenyan economy which has so far been driven by the Agricultural sector. Kenya’s Vision 2030 identifies ICT as a future pillar of this very economy. A co-operatives model is at the heart of the previous economy, and we should attempt to place it at the heart of the future economy.
We need a new African spring, a new socially driven phenomenon, which shall focus on the more important economic empowering of a generation to participate in an impending global digital revolution. Join the Tech-Innovators SACCO (http://www.tisk.co.ke)