SasaAfrica is a unique social enterprise based out of Kenya, which is owned and operated exclusively by women. The enterprise provides an innovative e-commerce platform and online solutions for women entrepreneurs, vendors and artisans across the African continent. The goal of SasaAfrica is to create sustainable micro-enterprises that can help improve the income and quality of life of under-privileged African women.
Ella Peinovich, a graduate from MIT, is one of the three founders of SasaAfrica. Peinovich has been chosen this year as one of the five finalists for BiD Network’s “Women in Business” Challenge that aims to support women entrepreneurs operating in emerging economies.
As an e-commerce platform for the developing world, SasaAfrica aims to promote fair and equitable global trade by bringing artisans who have no access to the Internet and online customers around the world on a common platform. Vendors create personal online storefronts on this platform, and provide product details and images on the storefront with the help of SasaAfrica’s accessible mobile phone registry.
The e-commerce platform of SasaAfrica enables consumers in any part of the world to purchase directly from vendors who are part of the platform. This online effort is creating a new revolution in the world of social commerce.
For each transaction that takes place on the e-commerce platform, SasaAfrica plays the role of a facilitator for the transaction. It converts international credit card purchases into mobile money payments. It makes use of innovative tracking tools to guarantee secure and efficient delivery of the goods. That brings the enterprising women of the developing world in direct contact with the rest of the world.
The women can use this e-commerce facility even if they do not have any access to a computer, Internet connectivity or a bank account. This helps women entrepreneurs located in some of the remotest regions to come into the business mainstream and become a part of international trade. SasaAfrica makes a profit from its efforts by charging a small listing fee to the artisans, and also gets a percentage share on each sale. This share is charged to the consumer, and not to the vendor.
Vikas is a staff writer for the Sustainable Development news and editorial section on Justmeans. He is an MBA with 20 years of managerial and entrepreneurial experience and global travel. He is the author of “The Power of Money” (Scholars, 2003), a book that presents a revolutionary monetary economic theory on poverty alleviation in the developing world. Vikas is also the official writer for an international social project for developing nations “Decisions for Life” run in collaboration between the ILO, the University of Amsterdam and the Indian Institute of Management.