Friday, July 19, 2024

Kenyans with innovative business ideas to get Sh100,000 funding from Zoho

Zoho, a global technology company, has announced a partnership with J-Hub Africa to promote technology adoption among young innovators and early-stage startups.

J-hub is a digital innovation hub that supports budding innovators and entrepreneurs at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT).

As part of the partnership, Zoho will support individuals and startups associated with the hub by providing them with Zoho Wallet Credits up to KES 100,000.

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These credits can be used to purchase any of Zoho’s 55+ cloud products for any business function, such as sales, marketing, HR, accounting, communication, and collaboration.

They can also access Zoho One, the operating system for business, wherein they can access multiple Zoho solutions from a single platform.

As all Zoho products have been built on the same technology stack, they easily integrate with each other, creating a seamless flow of contextual data.

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Furthermore, through this partnership, Zoho will provide training to JKUAT students from  technology streams on how to leverage cloud-based business tech to gain a competitive advantage.

This will include training on Zoho Creator, a low code platform that can help them create custom apps for various business needs, Zoho CRM, customer relationship management platform for managing sales and marketing, and Zoho Books, that will help companies manage their finances, while staying compliant with the TIMS and VAT regulations.

The upskilling initiative will help empower students with technology skills for when they join the workforce, irrespective of the industry.

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Speaking to Bizna Kenya, Zoho Head of Business Solutions Prem Anand said that the J-hub program does not target JKUAT  students and alumni alone, and any Kenyan with innovative ideas can apply and get onboarded irrespective of their educational background.

”You can be a JKUAT student, alumni, or anybody from Kenya. All you have to do is apply for that program on the J-hub Africa website. J-hub will then vet your innovation and onboard you as a good innovator in Kenya,’’ said Anand.

According to Anand, after a successful onboarding, Zoho will then support all innovators with Sh100,000 credit before training them on how to scale their innovations. The training will take between 2-3 months, depending on the business idea.

”Let’s say you have a great idea of building a mobile phone, and you cannot afford it. In this case, you have to be supported by a lot of software. So this is where we come in and make sure the software cost is taken away from whoever that innovator is.

We give them Sh100,000, analyze the business model, and train them on how to use the software for their businesses. We will ensure that all innovators use the right technology to make the best products,’’ he explained.

Anand noted that Zoho continues to work closely with startup ecosystem enablers to support different startups in Kenya, one of the fastest-growing markets in Africa.

The company recorded a 41 percent growth in Kenya in the last one year and 23 percent customer growth in the last five years.

“In 2023, Zoho has increased its employee count by 33% and partner network by 212% in Kenya. The growth has been driven by Zoho One (a unified platform of over 55 products), Zoho Workplace (enterprise collaboration platform), Zoho CRM Plus (customer experience platform), and Zoho Books (TIMS-compliant, accounting software).”

The top industries driving this growth are retail, insurance, financial services, IT hardware, and IT-related services.

 

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