Last year, the Kenyan government in partnership with Huawei and Safaricom introduced a low cost internet connection in an effort to boost internet connectivity particularly in Kenya’s rural homes.
According to a Huawei report released in June 2018, Kenya ranked top in sub-Saharan Africa in internet connectivity and investment enabling technology.
Samuel Baraza, a 31-year old entrepreneur is one of the many young and ambitious entrepreneurs who are ready to tap into these Information Communication and Technology opportunities to empower individuals, groups and Non-Governmental Organizations who possess creative ideas implement their projects.
With his indispensable 10 year working experience in the ICT world, Baraza, who also doubles as the Co-founder and CEO of Skyzone Communications Limited, decided to kick start Cuberise Projects Campaign in 2018 with the aim of helping innovative projects come to life.
“Cuberise Projects Campaign is an online crowd funding platform aimed at creating employment by raising funds for worthwhile projects that alleviate poverty, conserve the environment and have a positive impact for the wider good,” says the Kenyatta University Computer Science and MBA in Strategic Management graduate.
Baraza says economic forces motivated him to start the online platform owing to the fact that most of the budding start-up entrepreneurs went to the venture capitalist firms but hardly got any funding.
“It’s never about the strength of your idea but who you know among the panelists. We are targeting those who are cut off by the panelists just because they are not ‘known’. We are democratizing the whole idea of funding by showcasing creative ideas to the whole world and reaping from the economies of scale,” says Baraza.
To this end, Cuberise has conducted six campaign projects with one already fully funded. Key among these campaign project is one aimed at supporting a former Makini school teacher, Martin Omamo publish his book dubbed Sunset at Midday.
“Sunset at Midday takes us into the real life journey of a man who suffered a brain tumor at the apex of his career that left him blind and dependent on those around him. The book serves as a testament of perseverance and faith against insurmountable odds,” says Baraza.
The platform has also helped raised funds for the Athi River Saints and Kitengela All Stars basketball team which was seeking financial support for registration to participate at the coveted Nairobi Basketball Associations Championship commencing mid-March this year.
A glimpse at the Cuberise Project Campaign website shows that NBA championships campaign managed to surpass its target by over 10 percent and has now embarked on a second project campaign aimed at helping the 32 member basketball team procure balls and other crucial paraphernalia.
The platform has also embarked on yet another campaign aimed at planting one million tree within the next five years.
The Health Environment Education Poverty Eradication group campaign brings all like-minded organizations together to raise funds which would help the project to put in place nurseries, distribute tree seedlings to schools and help nurture trees in public areas.
According to the CEO, a project owner could opt for the adjustable goal type campaign where one gets the money raised regardless of whether they attained the targeted amount or the fixed goal type where if the targeted amount is not accomplished, the money is refunded to the respective contributors.
The platform also offers potential donors the option of conditionally pledging their contributions and honouring at a later date, say when the campaign project has managed to raise a half of its targeted amount.
“Any interested entrepreneur simply needs to create a free account and launch a campaign project with a short and detailed description about their project, the amount targeted and expected launch date,” he says.
Sunset at Midday Campaign Project Manager, Michael Odhiambo applauds the platform saying its worth recommending to any entrepreneur wading in financial uncertainties.
“Cuberise offers the ultimate solution to seal financial void to the youths. We would not have been here without Cuberise as it has really helped us in reaching out to donors. The exposure is exceptional and worth embracing,” he says.
Just like any other online business venture, Baraza says the platform is faced with the main challenge of low uptake owing to issues of trust brought about by cybercrime fears.
“Cuberise has partnered with iPay, the world’s most trusted and secure payment integration service providers. The platform does not handle the cash and after the campaign period is over, a project owner only needs to request for withdrawal through iPay, and Cuberise expedites the disbursement process,” says Baraza.
Asked where he wants to see Cuberise in the next few years, Baraza has his sight well-fixed on molding splendid entrepreneurs not only in Kenya but globally by leveraging on the dynamics of technology to curb the world’s major concerns of unemployment among the youth.
“The World Wide Web runs the economy and without it, the world would come to a standstill. The use of ICT is no longer a luxury, whether you are a tech savvy or not, you have to embrace technology,” adds Baraza.
By Rachael Kilonzo