TechnoServe Awarded Grant
TechnoServe has been awarded a $25,000.00 grant. TechnoServe’s mission is to work with enterprising people
in the developing world to build competitive farms, businesses, and industries.
Their success is measured by increased financial benefits for the people whom
they engage. These benefits enable them to improve their resilience and reduce their poverty. TechnoServe
was founded in 1968.
In Kenya, “mom and pop” shops, also known as Dukas supply 80% of consumer goods, mostly to low-income
communities. Dukas provide vital services that larger retailers and wholesalers cannot, as the market is
fragmented with high transaction costs. Additionally, restocking generally requires the owner to travel to a
supplier, often a large retailer, with cash in hand in order to make purchases. This is expensive and time
consuming, and results in periods of closure, limited inventory, and ultimately relatively high prices for
purchasers and low incomes for store keepers.
In partnership with the Elea Foundation for Ethics in Globalization and Citi Foundation, the Smart Duka
Initiative is working to increase the profitability of 840 high-potential small retail shops in Nairobi, Kenya.
The Smart Duka Initiative achieves these results through in depth training and mentorship. Results include;
better financial and operations management, strengthened marketing, the adoption of digital solutions for
payments and inventory, as well as improving relationships with lenders, suppliers, and customers. The
majority of stores selected to participate are women-operated or women-owned.
Since launching the Smart Duka Initiatives in 2016, the project has reached 570 beneficiaries. These
beneficiaries include shop owners, shops managers, and employees. Of which, 52% are women. Shops are
averaging a 19% increase in revenue and a 22% increase in profits.
TechnoServe recognizes the importance of raising incomes levels for women in these communities. Due to
cultural norms and social roles that often keep women from owning businesses like Dukas, women often do
not have a chance to support their family. TechnoServe specifically targets the women population and
consciously works to provide trainings, meetings, and other opportunities compatible with the schedules of
To measure success, upon completion of a project, TechnoServe calculates a “return on TechnoServe
investment” (ROTI) score as a measure of the project’s success. ROTI is calculated by totaling the financial
benefits accrued during the life of the project, plus projected financial benefits over 3 years, and dividing it by
the cost of implementation.