African Entrepreneur Collective (AEC) Kenya has announced its strategy to support 500,000 MSMEs by 2030 and a rebranding to a new corporate identity, “Inkomoko”.
This was disclosed during the Company’s Breakfast meeting with its Clients and the re-banding ceremony in Mombasa County.
Inkomoko’s Chief Executive Officer and Founder Julienne Oyler said this is part of a series of events marking the 10th Anniversary of the company, a leading business advisory and investment firm in East Africa, providing training, consulting, and access to finance.
“We are very proud that so many entrepreneurs have allowed us to walk with the team in their journey. With this new and ambitious strategy, as well as unifying all of our markets under one brand,” Inkomoko”, we will do even more to support micro and small businesses to grow and create jobs for others in their communities,” said Oyler.
Oyler explained that over the last 10 years, “Inkomoko” has served more than 41,000 entrepreneurs in Kenya, Rwanda and Ethiopia and that under this new strategy, the Company will invest $400M USD to support micro and small businesses across 8 countries by 2030.
She said “Inkomoko” has been working in Kenya since 2019 under the name AEC Kenya and as part of its 10th-anniversary celebration that kicked off last week in Rwanda, its senior leadership will visit all its locations across Kenya this week.
“This is to thank partners and clients for their support over the years as we commit to doing even more work together well into the future,” said Oyler.
She further said that “Inkomoko” is connected by a shared set of values that pushes them to do more than they originally thought was possible.
“Inkomoko currently works in five cities in Kenya that include Mombasa, Garissa, the Kakuma Refugee Camp and Kalobeyei Integrated Settlement, the Dadaab Refugee Complex, and Nairobi as we plan to open more offices by the end of the year,” said Oyler.
Oyler said that by engaging in secondary cities and refugee settings, Inkomoko will deploy more investments, more digital services, and market-linkages strategies that will connect entrepreneurs to one another nationally, and across geographies in the region.
Oyler, also a social entrepreneur brings more than 20 years of experience working in education and international development.
Prior to founding Inkomoko, Oyler served as the Director of Development and Communications at College Track, a national after-school program in the US.
In addition, she has held leadership and strategic consulting positions at a number of organizations including the African Leadership Academy, Capital Partners for Education, and the Yale School of Management.
She attended Georgetown University with a BA in African History, attended the University of Cape Town and also holds an MBA from the Yale School of Management and has lived in Rwanda for 10 years.
Inkomoko’s Chief Operating Officer (COO) and Co-Founder Sara Leedom who is also 2015 Echoing Green Fellow said the company has a fresh new look and a deeper connection to its ambitious 2030 vision.
“Formerly Known as AEC Kenya, The newly rebranded corporate identity “Inkomoko” supports micro and small enterprises across East Africa so that they can grow to create jobs, improve livelihoods and create thriving communities,” said Leedom.
She explained that “Inkomoko” is a Kinyarwanda word meaning “Origin”, recognizing Rwanda as the place where the company started.
“Referencing the “origin” in our name is also a recognition that, for many, “Inkomoko’s” services are the
Beginning of sustainable business growth for our clients.
She pointed out that “Inkomoko” was founded in 2012 by social entrepreneurs Julienne Oyler and Sara Leedom, and was originally called African Entrepreneur Collective.
“Today, the company has 18 offices across Rwanda, Kenya, and Ethiopia, and is deeply embedded in the
Communities that we serve, “said Leedom.
Leedom explained that Nairobi hosts “Inkomoko’s” Kenya headquarters and provides support to their field offices, which work with nearly 7,000 entrepreneurs in 2022.
“Our clients and colleagues are so committed to seeing their community thrive. We will continue
Supporting this, especially through the recently added services focused on market linkages that promote
Inclusive economic growth in secondary markets
Leedom has 25 years of growing and managing social impact organizations, providing operations and
Fundraising strategy for nonprofits and social enterprises.
Prior to Inkomoko, Sara was a Shell Foundation consultant to IntelleGrow, an impact fund in Mumbai, and served in a management capacity in many socially focused companies in California.
Sara has lived in Rwanda for 8 years, and has consulted on private sector development from Ghana,
Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and throughout East Africa.
Sara holds an MBA from Oxford’s Said Business School, where she was the co-chair of the Oxford
Business Network for Africa, and a Bachelor’s degree in English, with a focus on African Literature.
“Inkomoko” Kenya Advisory Board Chair, Florence Gatome, said, “On behalf of the Kenya advisory board, we are proud to be part of Inkomoko’s journey to support entrepreneurs across East Africa”.
According to a press release from “Inkomoko’s” Mombasa Offices at Nyali, Kenya “Inkomoko’s” Offices include Kakuma, Kalobeyei and Turkana in Northwestern Kenya, launched in 2019 that serve over 4,000 refugees and host communities, and entrepreneurs.
Garissa and Dadaab offices were launched in 2021 and deal with more than 400 entrepreneurs in Garissa County, and building on this success, Inkomoko expanded into Dadaab, where they are currently supporting 1,600 small businesses, including those recently impacted by market fires in Garissa town and the Dadaab Refugee Complex.
Mombasa along Kenya’s Coast offices was launched in 2021 and works with SMEs in the tourism and hospitality industries, export, and in manufacturing from their Nyali offices with a team that has supported over 30 high-growth potential SMEs.
The Company plans to set up its offices in Eldoret by end of the year in its strategy to create market linkages being the fastest growing town in Kenya where they are targeting to serve over 1,000 entrepreneurs by next year.
This provides business development services, including training on marketing, sales, and financial management and also offers one-on-one consulting, to help put these lessons into practice.
“Through “Inkomoko’s” in-house investment fund, we offer financing at below market rates, and also offer Sharia-compliant products, “said part of the statement.
They also provide services in Kiswahili, Arabic, English, Somali, Amharic, French, Kinyarwanda, and Kirundi and by 2030, the Company plan to expand to eight countries, working with more than half a million businesses.
“By adding services focused on market linkages and encouraging inclusive economic growth in
Secondary markets, Inkomoko will reach 7.6 million people with our services, “said the statement.
Their Client, a Director of Lemmy Lemmy Enterprise a Mombasa based- business firm, Leah Ndirangu said, “I opened my business in 2018, but since I started working with Inkomoko last year, I saw my business grow. I have even expanded from serving my clients from one location to other parts of Mombasa County. I look forward to more opportunities of growing my business by tapping into the large Inkomoko network across Kenya and the region.”
Mombasa-based business Advisory Form, Kismat Credit Limited’s Chief Executive Officer, Nicholas Ouma who started his business in 2020 and started working with Inkomoko in 2021 said, “Prior to our engagement with Inkomoko, we did not have proper record keeping in place. Now we have improved our bookkeeping, taxation, as well as our marketing on social media where we have seen our followers increasing in numbers. This has led to more profit by serving more clients within our community.”
Adele esigne Mubalama, a bag designer in Kakuma Refugee Camp, Kenya who arrived at the camp in 2019 from DRC with her family of nine children started her own business in 2020.
“After the training, I received from Inkomoko, I successfully applied for a $500 USD loan. I just
finished clearing that loan and already applied for the second cycle. Thanks to the support from
Inkomoko, I want to expand, diversify, get more products and serve more customers, “said Mubalama.
And among others is Ifrah Mohamed, a businesswoman based in Garissa, Kenya who said,
“When the services Inkomoko offers were explained to me, I realized that this is an opportunity for me to boost my small business in terms of skills, knowledge and financial services. I will be glad to understand more about how to do proper bookkeeping to have clean and presentable records.”