Wednesday, July 25, 2007

TED fellow Segeni Ng'ethe MamaMikes, hooks up Diaspora with motherland

I just read this article about TED fellow Segeni Ng'ethe's company Mama Mikes.

Written by Bob Wayne Bell Jr.

Mr. Ng'ethe (seated) and colleagues
Tech firms are being established by a new breed of technology entrepreneurs who are tapping and exploiting international markets, making a profit, and making a difference in the lives of Kenyans.

MamaMikes is a local e-commerce company that allows the Kenyan Diaspora to meet the needs of their family at home without the need for money transfer services.

Kenyans abroad can pay school fees, provide vouchers for shopping or home utilities, buy stocks, or transfer mobile airtime directly through the Internet. MamaMikes is cashing in on the estimated Sh70 billion remittances industry, which catapulted ahead of Kenya’s tourism sector last year.

According to a study done by Monice Nyamwange of William Paterson University, 72.5 per cent of remittances are for consumption while 64.9 per cent are spent on school fees.

With MamaMikes focusing on consumption goods and services as well as school fees, this company is tapping a lucrative market while reducing the transactional costs.

Estimates of the Kenyan Diaspora in America vary from 40,000 to 60,000 depending on the source.

However, the average Kenyan in the US has more education and makes more money per capita than other black African immigrants as well as average Americans.

With many African enterprises bootstrapped for growth by the low incomes of their customer, MamaMikes targets customers with relatively high incomes.

The founders of MamaMikes conceived the company in Washington, DC. They are part of what Professors Barbara E McDade and Anita Spring of the University of Florida (USA) consider to be “new generation entrepreneurs.

Read more here

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