Mastercard Foundation Scholars Alumni on a Mission to Tell the Stories of MSMEs in Kenya
When his startups failed to get traction, Peter Kironji found out that beside capital, one of the biggest challenges that Small & Medium-sized Enterprises(SMEs) in Kenya face is accessible and affordable platforms to tell their brand stories, promote their ventures and scale. In mid-2019, together with Esther Kimani, they started working to help fill this gap they had themselves earlier become victims of. And so the idea for Twiva was birthed.
Twiva is an influencer marketing platform that aims to harness, refine, and scale the power of influencers to inspire business growth in Africa. Available on the web and through a mobile application, Twiva provides a digital platform that leverages digital and mobile technology to streamline the training, sourcing, hiring, compensation and the collaboration between brands and creatives in the digital labor sector. Twiva helps SMEs promote their brands by connecting them to content creators and micro-influencers who showcase a portfolio of work, share what they do and how their products, services or solutions create value.
“The future of influencer marketing is content creators and not the traditional celebrity influencers. Consumers will be looking for creators that are not only knowledgeable on the products, services, or brands they are promoting but also those that are dedicated to specific niches and creating content that resonates with them,” Esther explained.
Businesses that are interested in raising their brand awareness and sales can then connect with creatives that align with their brand and interests through the functionalities of the Twiva platform. Twiva is open to all businesses for free for self-service and allows clients to see the influencers’ profiles, work, and rate cards, negotiate, hire, and collaborate with digital creatives.
When the pandemic broke, Twiva realized that it could leverage its platform and work with influencers, health officials and content creators to assist in COVID-19 public education. Twiva also worked closely with health officials to identify COVID-19 hotspots, leveraged geo-targeting tools and activated local micro-influencers on its platform and social media to educate residents on COVID-19 precautions and social distancing protocols.
“Small and medium scale enterprises were especially hard hit by the pandemic. We decided to use the Twiva platform and our influencer marketers to promote some of these SMEs,” explained Esther. One of the SMEs, MarketPower, a printing and branding company in Kenya worked with Twiva to raise awareness of the disease, educate people on how to stay safe, and promoted their COVID-19 products such as face masks, social distancing stickers, face shields and hygiene barriers.”
Impact: Job Creation and Giving Back
Since launching Twiva platform early this year, Twiva already has over 1082 influencers and content creators signed up on the platform, and over 200 businesses/employers have signed up to leverage the platform to hire and collaborate with influencers and creatives. Considering the economic slowdown due to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, these are some impressive numbers by this budding startup.
“For us at Twiva, we are incredibly thankful to the Mastercard Social Entrepreneurship Fund for funding our project and further validating the Twiva idea and its potential to create more opportunity for the youth. The world is now a global village, and through Twiva, the Youth and creatives in Africa especially Kenya can be active players in the digital economy,” Esther said.
About the Founders of Twiva
Esther Kimani is a Mastercard Foundation Alumna from the University of Toronto, where she specialized in Finance and Economics.
Peter Kironji graduated in June 2018 from the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at the University of Toronto as an Electrical and Computer Engineer.