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Aharon Adisa | ecomfrica.org

The magical power of storytelling in the advent of digital business

The magical power of storytelling in the advent of digital business

One of the favourite things I have read about you has been the following quote: “I learned to always take on things I’d never done before. Growth and comfort do not coexist “. Can you take us through who this person is? Who is Sharon?

My name is Sharon Adisa, a Kenyan from Vihiga County in the Western Part of Kenya, where I grew up for the better part of my childhood. I am passionate about technology especially with the intersection of women and youth empowerment and I look forward to helping young people and women tap into the opportunities that have been brought about by new technologies. Growing up, I always wanted to perform well in my studies and become someone who years later, another girl would look at and be motivated to go beyond the glass ceiling.

My dad was very keen on my education and he did everything to support me until I cleared campus. He was very specific about passing science subjects and my passion stemmed from there until I joined Daystar University to pursue a degree in Management Information Systems.

After School, I tried my hand in employment but through that, I realized that I really wanted to create something that would not just benefit me, but also other youth and young women. So, I ventured into Entrepreneurship. And that’s how I ended up creating Kendesk.Com.

In my free time, I like to read, I’m currently reading Nanjala Nabola’s book Digital-Democracy-Analogue-Politics). I also like hiking, watching movies and recently started cycling. I also like to write on my blogs and my passion for women and  girls empowerment motivated me to create Shaboard a social enterprise, where on one hand I do training and mentorship for girls, and on the other hand share stories about young women entrepreneurs and women in STEM.

Tell us about your business Kendesk.Com what makes it different to other digital services platforms?

Kendesk Digital Services Ltd. Is a digital management company in Kenya that  aims to help MSMEs, Start-ups and Busy Professionals with robust digital management and Data analysis services in order to improve online customer experiences, enhance their online image and add value to their overall business strategy. Our service include Social Media Management, Data Analysis, Blogging, Online Branding, Corporate Digital Training, Digital campaigns, search engine optimization (SEO) and other related Digital consulting and advisory services.

We are very specific about our target market unlike other digital platforms. We target MSMEs and we have customizable packages for their changing needs as we try to walk the growth journey with them. We’re also working on providing crucial predictive analytics to businesses in order to help them understand their customers’ sentiments and future decisions regarding purchase and use  of their products and/ or services. Kendesk aims at leveraging digital platforms to improve customer experiences for MSMEs who would rather find traditional marketing channels expensive.

You have participated in numerous youth leadership and entrepreneurship accelerator programs like the Young African Leaders Initiative Regional Program, The Nailab Accelerator Program, African Changemakers Fellowship, the Tony Elumelu Foundation and the African Women Entrepreneurship Cooperative to name a few. How have these programs advanced your growth ? Can one only achieve that level of success through participating in multiple programs or do they each serve different purposes?

Well, before I got into these programs, I had applied to several other local and global programs without success. But I kept on perfecting my applications until I got my first positive feedback. This gave me the motivation to try out more and more applications. I still do by the way. It’s been an amazing journey going through the different programs.

Each program had its own unique impact on my journey. They’ve contributed to my individual growth as a public speaker, leader and helped me appreciate working with people from diverse backgrounds with different capabilities from the African continent and beyond. For example, I had no knowledge on how to run a business from scratch until I joined the  Nailab accelerator program where I went through the fundamentals of building a working prototype from just an idea.

This also opened me up to more networking opportunities and I became more aggressive in searching for more. The YALI program for example taught me how to be a young African leader and how to impact change while working together with people from diverse backgrounds. I learned more about financial education from the Tony Elumelu Foundation program while the key takeaway from African Women Entrepreneurship Cooperative, which I’m currently pursuing, is collaboration as we’re put in various teams with women from across the globe and have to work on certain projects adhering to the deadlines.

Another one of your passions is what you coin "The-seductive-power-of-story-telling". How has storytelling uniquely set your business apart?

I believe people remember things more if they’re told as a story; the reason why we still remember those stories about the lion and hare when we were still young. Stories stick for a long time, and that’s how a business should define itself if it wants to stick on the minds of consumers for generations to come.

What’s the story behind you coming up with that product or service? Can your target audience relate with it? Storytelling for a business is very fundamental because it helps you as a business relate with your audience as long as it is relatable to your target audience and they even see themselves as a character in your story. I believe the advent of social media and blogging is very essential to amplify our brand stories.

That’s why many businesses are currently investing in different digital platforms to help them amplify their brand and connect with their audience. From my perspective, African stories are not being told frequently and wide enough, or rather there are very few positive stories about African start-ups and entrepreneurs. That’s why we feel telling stories about our own start-ups and entrepreneur help us live in both their pain and joy and future entrepreneurs would have something to learn from. We run active blogs, i.e. Kendesk.co.ke where we write stories about new and emerging tech trends and reviews, social media, customer support and start-ups , and shaboard.com where we write about women entrepreneurs and women in technology so as to inspire the next generation  of women entrepreneurs and technologists.

What would you tell your younger self who may not have had much access to resources or information about the forth industrial revolution?

Opportunities are limitless if only you can be more curious and aggressive. Don’t limit yourself to what you know and pay attention to the changing trends so that you’re not caught by surprise and miss the train.

If this story inspired you, comment below or nominate a woman who inspires you.

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Mpho Sekwele

Mpho Sekwele

Mpho Sekwele, a Dartmouth College (USA) Mandela Washington Fellow for Young African Leaders Initiative, has over ten years of corporate work experience in the retail industry for Blue Chip retail companies in Africa. Mpho is an alumnus of the University of Cape Town, University of Witwatersrand and holds an Executive MBA from IEDC Bled School of Management (Slovenia). Mpho is passionate about youth and women empowerment; through sintuonline.com an eCommerce platform where contemporary African Heritage Clothing and Accessories made by young women in Africa, are sold globally; as well as BantuHikers a wellness, networking and mentorship platform for first generation students.
Aharon Adisa | ecomfrica.org

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