How to Start an IT Firm in Kenya

How to Start an IT Firm in Kenya

Looking to start an IT Company in Kenya? that’s a brilliant idea because Kenya is the innovation leader in technology in emerging markets in both East and Central Africa and is considered as one of the three top innovation hubs in Sub-Sahara Africa. Similar to California’s Silicon Valley, there are homegrown innovations taking place inside small tech communities that have ultimately pushed the formation of robust networks in both private sector ICT research and development hubs such as the Nairobi University’s Fab Lab, Strathmore University’s i-Lab, and other private sector hubs such as i-Hub, m-Lab, and Nailab among others.

The Government of Kenya is committed to the growth of the ICT sector by developing the necessary policies and legal frameworks that will enable the rapid growth of the industry with projects such as The East African Marine System (TEAMS) and the Notational Optic Fiber Backbone Infrastructure (NOFBI) upgrading and strengthening broadband and communication systems.

The question of how to ensure the success of a new company is already answered by drawing knowledge from the stories of the founders who have already done it before like the Cellulant Corporation which is the highest funded tech company that raised funds to the tune of $47.5 Million US dollars and has services across 11 African markets with roughly 12% of Africa’s mobile consumers using their solutions, started when the co-founders; Bolaji Akinboro and Ken Njoroge met and scribbled their company’s business model and mission on a napkin.

If you enjoy the fast-paced world of IT, then venturing into the industry will be a good fit and we are going to guide you on how to go about it.

  1. Survey the Customers

Conduct a thorough market research on a particular area, you will need to find out who your consumers are going to be and form a buyer persona, the problems your idea is trying to solve, if there are enough people with the same problem and how much they are willing to pay for the problem to go away thereafter sell the idea to the potential consumers and establish how well the product will sell. The idea needs to be the ideal solution the consumers are searching for.

  1. Build your product

The best part of this stage is that it requires no capital at all but will demand your time and or your partner’s time as well. It is an important stage as you will be building the foundation of your company.

You may need to minimize the product to the core features, preferably one or two features that are going to solve the problem most effectively. In order to be able to prioritize the features, you need to target a specific niche that you will be able to penetrate, visualize how the consumer will use the product by creating a storyboard and then eliminate the low priority features.

  1. Sourcing Talent

Looking for the right team is crucial to the business, from a technological savvy person to an engineer, a proper sales team and a finance guy among others. The team that is chosen should be able to cover all the bases so that your company will be able to effectively service your clients.

  1. Enter the market with a Minimal Viable Product

It is not always necessary to build the product fully before launching it. There are different strategies that can be used depending on the goal of the test. Examples of

  • Smoke test: the goal here is to test user interest. One can build a landing page then send traffic to the page via ads and check how many people sign up.
  • Pre-sell: this is where you launch a crowd funding campaign and measure how many people donate. The goal is to gauge user interest and raise funds.
  • Concierge: the goal is to create new ideas, generate feedback and collect data about consumers. One performs the services manually by giving clients hands on services without technology.
  • Piecemeal MVP: Take technology that has already been built and customize it to perform the necessary functions. The goal is to prove the concept before making a larger investment into product development.
  1. Attracting Early Adopters

In this stage, you can send just a limited number of users to the application so as to gauge where or not you are in the right path and the product is performing in the market. This can be done through the following ways;

  • Self-promotion: Handing out flyers, word of mouth, using different social media platforms and contacting and forming mutual beneficial partnerships with individuals, organizations and companies that would benefit from your technology.
  • Online communities: Assimilate yourself and become an active member in the group by participating in discussions and assisting members with queries such that when you post something about your product or rather your software, people will know who you are and you won’t seem like you are spamming the network.
  • Using Influencers: just need one person with a large audience to use your application and review it so that they could do the persuading for you.

The most important step is being committed to take the first step and start the IT Company with the necessary legal requirements, documents and certifications.

Starting an IT Company in Kenya like every other business in Kenya comes with its myriad of challenges as such you will need to be firm and persevere.

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