Smart Duka: Empowering Shopkeepers in Nairobi

"Mom and pop” shops play a critical role in developing economies around the world. In Kenya, where they are known as dukas, these small retail shops supply roughly 80 percent of consumer goods and are often run by women or families. But dukas face many challenges to efficiency, resulting in lower earnings for their owners. In partnership with the elea Foundation and Citi Foundation, TechnoServe is working to increase the profitability of 840 high-potential shops in Nairobi, the majority of which are women-operated or women-owned. Launched in late 2015, the Smart Duka initiative builds on the success of a similar effort in Latin America. The project provides one-on-one consulting and group training to improve marketing and merchandising; general business skills; relationships with lenders, suppliers and customers; and coordination amongst shops. The project is also exploring practical digital solutions that will enable Nairobi’s shopkeepers to manage inventory efficiently and make mobile payments.