TradeMark Africa (TMA), in collaboration with the Tanzania Women Chamber of Commerce (TWCC) and Global Affairs Canada, launched a digital marketplace, iSOKO, aimed at catalyzing the growth of women-led businesses across East Africa.
iSOKO, a mobile and web-based platform, provides an extensive array of resources, including a regional marketplace for buying and selling products, valuable business and marketing information, robust business management tools, and ample networking opportunities.
iSOKO promises to stimulate the development of markets and value chains within the industry by providing easily accessible information about market needs.
The platform also enables the sharing of information that can assist in addressing issues related to harassment and gender-based violence anonymously.
Registration on the iSOKO platform is free, making it a valuable resource for women entrepreneurs seeking to increase their business’s value and income. The platform, launched earlier in Nairobi and Kampala, is slated for further rollouts in other East African countries.
This innovative platform is an integral part of TradeMark Africa’s Women in Business Initiative, which operates in East African Community (EAC) member countries through trade associations such as TWCC.
The inaugural event, held in Dar es Salaam on 24th May 2023, brought together a multitude of businesswomen from across the EAC, including Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, and Burundi.
Notable attendees included Needpeace Jonathan Wambuya, representing the Ministry of Industry and Trade, who underscored the importance of this platform in bridging the information gap that often hinders businesses from realizing their full potential.
“We encourage all businesswomen to register on this platform to facilitate business operations. The government recognizes that 54% of small businesses are owned by women, contributing significantly to economic growth and employment,” Wambuya commented.
Monica Hangi, the Country Director of TMA, disclosed that 3,000 businesswomen had already registered on the iSOKO platform and expected the numbers to grow significantly.
“This technological solution will benefit all who buy and sell. Traders and service providers are encouraged to register to enhance cross-border trade,” Hangi stated.
Mercy Sila, the Chairman of TWCC, iterated the organization’s commitment to enabling its members’ growth from one stage to another. “Our goal is to reach every female investor. We have also expanded to Zanzibar,” Sila noted.