Sokowatch, the innovative e-commerce platform that supplies and finances mom-and-pop stores across East Africa, has today been named in Fast Company’s prestigious annual list of the World’s Most Innovative Companies (MIC) for 2021. The list honors businesses that have not only found a way to be resilient in the past year, but also turned those challenges into impact-making processes.
These companies did more than survive, they thrived—making an impact on their industries and culture as a whole.
This year’s MIC list features 463 businesses from 29 countries. Fast Company sought out the most groundbreaking businesses across the globe and industries, and also judged nominations received through their application process.
On receiving the recognition from Fast Company, Global CEO and Founder, Daniel Yu, said the recognition is very exciting and they are delighted to be listed as one of the world’s most innovative companies across Europe, Middle East and Africa
“It further validates Sokowatch’s efforts to support thriving retailers across the continent and demonstrates the real impact of innovative solutions. At Sokowatch we are always looking at ways to reimagine the status quo to ultimately increase the purchasing power of African communities,” Yu said in a press statement.
Sokowatch currently has an established network of over 18,000 shops across Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, and Uganda —serving the neglected informal retail market that sells over USD$850 billion of basic goods to African consumers every year.
In response to the potential devastating effects of the pandemic, Sokowatch in 2020, launched an e-voucher scheme to support its ecosystem of shop owners and the local communities. The scheme was launched to ensure vulnerable families would have access to essential goods by redeeming sms vouchers at their local shop, maintaining a steady income for the shop during a precarious time.
The scheme supported over 10,000 beneficiaries, with participating informal retailers experiencing revenues rise by up to 54%.
In December 2020, Sokowatch deployed a fleet of electric tuk-tuks in Uganda where the air quality is worse than global standards. The vehicles were the first of its kind to be used commercially in East Africa. This is part of Sokowatch’s drive to reduce the impact of carbon emissions and foster cleaner and more sustainable environments in the markets it operates.
Fast Company’s world’s MIC is its signature franchise and one of its most highly anticipated editorial efforts. It provides both a snapshot and a road map for the future of innovation across the most dynamic sectors of the economy.
“In a year of unprecedented challenges, the companies on this list exhibit fearlessness, ingenuity, and creativity in the face of crisis,” said Fast Company Deputy Editor David Lidsky, who oversaw the issue with Senior Editor Amy Farley.