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Kenya’s B2B platform for retail distribution MarketForce lays off 9% of staff

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MarketForce, a B2B platform for retail distribution of consumer goods and digital financial services, has laid  off 9% of its workforce .

According to MarketForce CEO Tesh Mbaabu , the layoffs which happened in July were a part of a reorganization strategy in Kenya ,one of its five markets besides Nigeria, Rwanda, Uganda and Tanzania. 

 The company  had more than 600 employees but had to let go 54 of its overall workforce , mainly from field sales, supply chain and customer experience departments. 

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Although some of these roles were instrumental to MarketForce’s growth over the past year as the company concentrated its efforts on onboarding thousands of merchants to its RejaReja platform, the CEO said they had become redundant as the  the company wants to drive more revenue per merchant.

 “We were at the phase where we were focused on growth, but we’ve gotten to a point where we’re optimizing towards profitability,” he added. 

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Mbaabu has however reassured employees that the company still has enough arsenal in its coffers and attributed the company’s decision to “adapting to the global economic uncertainties” and “optimizing the business for different growth metrics.”

 Some roles in the Kenya market will become redundant, and new ones will emerge; all our other markets will not be impacted, he said.

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According to the CEO, MarketForce has commenced hires in Tanzania to scale its RejaReja product; before now, businesses in the country only had access to the SaaS platform. 

The CEO  said that the employees impacted by the reorganization, will be offered  counseling services on navigating change and managing anxiety during uncertain time and a training session on revamping their CV, optimizing  LinkedIn profile and interview preparation techniques.

The company will also partner with recruiters to consider them for opportunities within other organizations that are looking to hire and offer a certificate of service and letter of recommendation as appropriate.

And that they will also pay  in lieu of notice in addition to a severance package of 15 days for every completed year of service and unutilised leave days.

Although layoffs from the African tech scene have been few compared to the rest of the world other startups including SendySwvlVezeeta and Wave have also cut the number of their employees.

MarketForce was founded by Mbaabu together with Mesongo Sibuti in 2018 as a SaaS platform for retail distribution.Two years later, the company launched RejaReja, its asset-light merchant super app and marketplace that informal traders can use to source goods directly from manufacturers and distributors, make and pay for orders digitally and accept payments for utility bills.

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Milcah Lukhanyu
Milcah Lukhanyu
I cover tech news across Africa. Drop me an email at [email protected]

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