School of Science and Technology in partnership with the GAME Centre launch initiative to assist SMEs weather the COVID-19 pandemic

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By Dr. Joshua Rumo

With the understanding that several Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) have been forced to rethink their business models and purpose to remain viable and healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic, the School of Science and Technology in partnership with the School of Graduate Studies, Research and Extension and the Global Agribusiness Management and Entrepreneurship (GAME) launched a new initiative that will support SMEs weather the uncertain times.

The project, initiated by Dr. Joshua Rumo, Dr. Leah Mutanu and Dr. Collins Oduor and supported by Ms. Salome Asena, Ms. Virginia Thuku and Mr. Shadrack Tonui, will offer a no-cost digital service to help them transition to a digital revenue or operating model. Each project is done by a team of student volunteers under the guidance of a mentor. The focus is on quickly solving one technology problem or providing one new online capability to the SME. Each project spans 2 – 3 weeks. In view of the current pandemic environment, all project activities like interaction with the client, team meetings all through to the final delivery of the completed product are done remotely.

The proposed services include but are not limited to:

  • Creation or modification of a website to improve the business;

  • Creation of a desktop application to support business activities e.g. record, inventory or cash flows management;

  • Creation of a mobile app to support business activities e.g. inventory or cash flows management;

  • Consultation on technology to digitize existing operations.

    In addition to helping SME’s, the project is also designed to help students gain valuable work experience, with the first cohort of 12 students taking part in the pilot phase of the programme, applying their classroom knowledge to real life businesses. Through the initiative, these students have been able to develop and host fully functional websites for several companies including:

  • Kayda Company Limited: https://kayda.co.ke/

  • Zoomy Deliveries Limited: https://zoomydeliveries.co.ke/services/

  • Trixie Poultry Farm: https://www.trixiepoultry.com/

    Following the success of the pilot phase of the project, the School of Science and Technology and the GAME Centre have seen an uptick of requests for the service, with 120 small enterprises signing up to have their businesses technologically improved. In order to handle this influx of requests, the project is currently recruiting Graduate and 3rd and 4th year Undergraduate students in the MIST, APT and IST programs with good academic standing to participate in the program. To sign up, please click on this link: https://forms.gle/CG9KAGsuKoKtcTKK9 . For any inquiries, reach out to us on jrumo@usiu.ac.ke, lmutanu@usiu.ac.ke and sasena@usiu.ac.ke.

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