Moody’s Corporation has announced the selection of its inaugural list of partners for Reshape Tomorrow, its innovative, global program to help owners of small and growing business overcome the challenges of expanding their enterprises with TechnoServe’s Kenyan concept Smart Dukas being one of them.
Moody’s will support the “Smart Duka Initiative” in Kenya, helping a thousand retail shop owners to grow their businesses through training and coaching on sales, inventory management and technology. It will also support “Working Capital Financing for Box Shop Entrepreneurs,” in South Africa, which will provide input finance to youth and women retail entrepreneurs within the Box Shop program.
“Working with Moody’s will help TechnoServe provide expanded training and support to thousands of entrepreneurs in Kenya and South Africa,” said William Warshauer, President and CEO of TechnoServe. “These enterprises are critical for reducing unemployment and boosting local economies, and we look forward to expanding our impact through this new partnership.”
In Kenya, small retail shops also known as dukas, supply roughly 80 percent of consumer goods and are often run by women or families. But dukas face many challenges to efficiency, resulting in lower earnings for their owners.
In partnership with the Elea Foundation and Citi Foundation, TechnoServe is working to increase the profitability of 840 high-potential shops in Nairobi, the majority of which are women-operated or women-owned.
Launched in late 2015, the Smart Duka initiative builds on the success of a similar effort in Latin America. The project provides one-on-one consulting and group training to improve marketing and merchandising; general business skills; relationships with lenders, suppliers and customers; and coordination among shops.
The project is also exploring practical digital solutions that will enable Nairobi’s shopkeepers to manage inventory efficiently and make mobile payments.
“Moody’s is proud to partner with these innovative organizations as the core of Reshape Tomorrow. Together, we aim to empower owners of small and growing businesses with the knowledge, resources and confidence they need to create a better future,” said Arlene Isaacs-Lowe, Global Head of CSR at Moody’s. “We believe these programs can make a real impact on the lives of entrepreneurs seeking to build a more prosperous future for themselves and their communities.”
Each of the programs emphasize preparing small business owners to successfully access credit through better technology, tools and expertise. Moody’s support will include philanthropic grants as well as practical resources and skills-based volunteer participation by Moody’s employees around the world.