According to the dictionary, stepwise means “in a series of distinct stages; not continuously.” Something that happens at intervals. It is rather like life that has its own set of milestones. This is well-understood by StepWise, formerly Daproim. It is a conglomerate; businesses inside a mothership that has granted employment to over 15,000 people since it was formed 14 years ago. Founded by Caroline Wanjiku, StepWise breathes life into the handicapable, offering them opportunities to make a living through their trinity – skillset, mindset, and toolset.
It is a Certified B Corporation. These are a “new kind of business that balances purpose and profit. They are legally required to consider the impact of their decisions on their workers, customers, suppliers, community, and the environment. This is a community of leaders, driving a global movement of people using business as a force for good.” It makes StepWise a rather unique business.
Enter the third annual CIO East Africa SACCOTech Forum, 2021. SACCOs have a reputation for empowering its members, lifting them financially, and allowing them to aspire to a better, achievable life. They even create employment. Here is where the SACCOTech Forum meets with the first-time sponsor, StepWise. Just like the slew of B Corporations globally, they have one unifying goal. They use business as a force for good.
It is pretty apparent that the government cannot solve the world’s problems, and this is where the B Corp community shines. With businesses were run by a social entrepreneur, Wanjiku, who was so successful at it, she exited her business after it was bought out. She is now the Managing Director, Africa with DDD (Digital Divide Data). She raised Daproim from the ground up as the Founder CEO and grew StepWise as the Global COO, all under the philosophy of reducing inequality and poverty, as well as build stronger communities and healthier environments.
This year’s SACCOTech Forum theme, Accelerating The Change, segues into 2021 from 2020’s inexplicability. With the past year being what it was, many have leaned in heavily into their SACCOs to sustain them and their livelihoods. SACCOs have also had to step up their digital transformation once COVID-19 hit so as not to be left in the lurch. It is estimated that the growth trajectory gained by SACCOs and Micro Finance Institutions (MFSIs) will pick up even more over time. It is reported that total asset growth increased to Kshs 542.27 billion in 2020, translating to a 12.4 per cent growth from the previous year, 2019.
To bridge the present to the future, the SACCOTech Forum hosts powerful leaders in the space such as George Ombado, CEO of ACCOSCA, Edith Tusuubira, Executive Director at Uganda Microfinance Regulatory Authority, Kamal Budhabatti, Group CEO at Craft Silicon, Adolphe Ndagijimana, Strategy and Innovations Head at Envision Global, Felix Kamau, Head of ICT at Unaitas SACCO, Laura Chite, CEO CIO East Africa and many more.