How a 6 week stint as an International Volunteer for Balloon Kenya ventures fuelled my Start-Up company

The Project Brief:

We started off as a team of six International Volunteers from London, Australia and the Netherlands. We were then paired off and after a week’s training we were allocated five local Kenyan entrepreneurs, each with different ideas and businesses. We were tasked with assisting the entrepreneurs with the development of their business ventures through extensive market research and testing. At the end of the six weeks stint, the entrepreneurs presented their projects for funding to a panel of micro-finance judges. Three out of five entrepreneurs in our team received either full or limited funding.

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The Entrepreneur Challenge:

Despite selling hundreds of different products, we noticed that the local Kenyan entrepreneurs experienced problems in tracking their sales and/or expenses because they could not afford cash registers or other point-of-sales devices. In fact, the most organised entrepreneurs recorded some transactions in a notebook and then laboriously transferred this information to a spreadsheet; but they generally could not figure out how to use this data to improve their profits. As a result, most of the entrepreneurs could not determine their break-even sales, analyse an investment opportunity, nor optimise their purchasing decisions. All of these limitations combined to keep the entrepreneurs operating in a sub-optimal manner, reducing profits and limiting their business growth.

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The Start-Up Revealed

TeetonDigital™ is a start-up company which intends to help micro retailers and shopkeepers in Kenya to better manage and control their inventory and finances using software applications on mobile devices. TeetonDigital™ main product will be a browser based mobile point of sale (POS) system called TeetonPOS™ which will consist of inventory app, sales app, vendor app, CRM app, payment gateway, a tablet or a mobile smart phone, a debit/credit card reader, a barcode generator, a barcode reader and a cash register.

All software applications for the mobile POS system will be web-based and therefore will be able to run on Android/Apple iOS smart phones or tablets with touch screens. The devices will synchronise wirelessly with the company’s Web servers.

The Minimal Viable Product (MVP)

The development of TeetonPOS™ MVP, according to market research and one-on-one interviews done with leading software development companies in Europe, USA and India, costs between 30,000 and 45,000 Euros. This only covers a sales and inventory module with a payment gateway. The software development companies have quoted prices up to 200,000 Euros for all modules required for TeetonPOS™ to operate efficiently.

Funding Opportunities

We welcome opportunities for funding in exchange for 5% -10% equity in developing an MVP for TeetonPOS.

Contact Information

LinkedIn: Suzanne Towett (UX & Business/IT Consultant)

Email: stowett (at) gmail (dot) com

 Written By Suzanne Towett, Balloon Fellows January 2014 

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