Families in rural areas in Kenya suffer from poor-quality living conditions. They often lack access to electricity, cook in smoky conditions and may have to travel to fetch clean water by hand. Women are particularly affected by this as they are in charge of most household chores. Although many new technologies exist, such as solar goods, these are too often not available, not accessible and not affordable for the ones that need them the most.
Bidhaa Sasa (meaning “Products Now” in Swahili) founded by Rocio Perez Ochoa and David Disch, is a Lean start-up based in rural Kenya that helps to improve the quality of life of families by making technology goods accessible and affordable to the less fortunate. They combine financing and last-mile distribution and use Tupperware-style direct selling – by women for women – to deliver goods to clients’ doorsteps.
Bidhaa Sasa uniquely combines the financing and distribution of products in a one-stop-shop, offering quality goods and after-sales services. They are product-neutral and offer a range of life-improving household items tailored to their customers’ preferences and desires.
They sell on credit goods such as solar lights and systems and cleaner cooking solutions to the under-served and un-banked who are mostly rural women. These products have come a long way in design, performance and reliability – now, they make them accessible by delivering and installing them at our clients’ homes, and allowing customers to pay in affordable installments. Women, who tend to have fewer employment opportunities outside the farm, not only form their core clientele but are also at the core of their sales strategy as they can earn rewards by recruiting new clients.
They offer un-collateralized credit to all clients provided that they are organized in groups. They also educate end-users on product usage and payment methods, and install complex products at clients’ homes and offer after-sales services.
The start-up launched in Western Kenya with a dense rural population of smallholder farmers, which provides a fertile ground for growth. They sell through groups of clients to reduce their operating expenses and that social unity helps to manage financial risk. Also, the universal mobile phone and mobile payment services are opening new ways of financing and communicating with their clients.