NationHela?

Today I came across a very interesting new service: NationHela.

So what is NationHela? According to them:

NationHela is a new, simpler and more convenient international money transfer service that allows you to receive money, from anywhere in the world, straight to your NationHela prepaid Visa card and mobile phone. A prepaid card is one in which you need to load money first in order to use and therefore keeps you in total control of what you spend. A prepaid card is different from a debit card or credit card in that it is not linked to your bank account nor can you spend money that you don’t have. Just like carrying cash in your pocket, you only spend what you have, but in a safer and more convenient way.

The NationHela card is available in Kenya at DTB branches, NationHela agents and at Nakumatt supermarkets. Individuals based in the diaspora will be able to log in here to send funds directly to a Kenyan NationHela account.

You can also top up your account in Kenya at any NationHela agent location or through M-PESA. All funds in your NationHela account are accessible through your NationHela prepaid VISA card or your mobile phone.

The most interesting thing about NationHela?

Simply log on to www.nationHela.com and send money home instantly from your Paypal account, Debit or Credit Card ( Inclusive of Visa, Mastercard and Amex).

Could this mean that one can finally easily withdraw from PayPal Kenya? Dear readers, has anyone of you tried this method to withdraw from PayPal?

Update: An interesting point of view by J. Nyagudi:

Think of it this way.

I’m a Kenyan and I want to withdraw through Paypal, so I take a trip
to London and open an account with XYZ bank in London, and have a visa
card attached to it. I then tell the bank that I will be using the
VISA card on international ATM’s POSs etc. I also open up (or update)
my Paypal account to confirm the bank for withdrawals and so on and so
on.

I then take the 8 hour flight back to Nairobi with visa card on hand.
From then whenever i want to withdraw i just “push” to my UK bank
account which i can withdraw from any visa ATM here in Kenya.

Now parter that bank with a bank here; so that it can issue visa cards
on behalf of the UK bank (long distance agency banking) (look closely
at the BIN of the card), DTB is here to make the CBKs here happy, and
as they always say, talk to a bank, if they are happy we are happy
since we regulate them.

and there you have it

How About Fish Farming?

They say there is a lot of potential in fish farming. Dwindling supply and the increasing demand for fish and fisheries products offers great opportunities to producers towards meeting both the increasing local and export demand for fish.

I recently came across an interesting organisation called Inspired Fish Farming ( admin[at]inspiredfarming.com ) which offers managed fish farming as an investment opportunity. Basically what these guys are offering is the opportunity for one to lease a fish pond and its day-to-day management and then partake of the profits once the fish mature and are sold. According to them you can invest Kshs 125,000/- and make a gross amount of Kshs 205,000/-. That is a gross profit of about Kshs 80,000/- in about 10 months.

What do you think, readers, is it a good deal?

One good thing about it is that it is completely on “autopilot” as far as you are concerned in that you are not involved in managing the pond or the fish. You just invest and, potentially, profit.

I think agribusiness has a lot of potential in our country. If this opportunity makes sense for it, go for it! I’d love to hear your thoughts below.

The Cesspit That is Kenyan “Job Sites”

So, recently, a friend of mine who had struggled for a long time looking for an employee, decided to send the job details to one of the many Kenyan job sites out there. They had a notice on their homepage that if you sent job details to them via email, they would post the job to an audience of thousands. They were right.

Soon, my friend’s inbox was flooded with job applicants. He’s extremely happy and cannot thank the Kenyan job sites enough. He’s still sorting through them and is certain that he will get what he needs.

This intrigued me a little and I had a deeper look at what had happened. Not only had his little job advert appeared on the site he posted too, but it had “magically” spread through Kenyan web space like you would not believe. It was suddenly on all Kenyan job sites, it seems. Big sites, small sites – they did not seem to care.

What might interest you, though, is that his ad also ‘magically’ appeared on heavy-hitters N-soko (by nation Media), Dealfish and Brighter Monday. It seems that these large sits employ someone (or perhaps a bot) to go through the other, small sites, and copy their content (at least as far as job ads go). Worse, the ad that appeared on these “heavy-hitters” was absolutely worthless to a job seeker – they had removed the contact address before posting the job ad. Can you believe that?

How would akina Dealfish gain from posting a job ad that no one can apply to? Sad truth is that they don’t really care. All that these job sites, big or small, are after is eyeballs. They want to post as many job openings as possible in hopes of attracting as many job seekers as possible. I would wager that they dont care if these job seekers actually find jobs….. they only want them to click on their little adsense adverts. And that, my friends, is business.

Of course I am not saying that anyone is doing any wrong – in fact I think that the whole system put together serves job seekers very well. As my friend learnt, it is also extremely useful for employers. At the end of the day it is just business – only at the cost of endless copying and/or plagiarism to entice job seekers and hope that they click on some adverts. This must be one of the easiest “online businesses” to start in Kenya, right?

As they say, if you get a product/service for free then think again. You are the product.

How to Think Like An Internet Entrepreneur [Interview]

Readers, we’d like to introduce Gerald to you. We learnt about him from this comment on a previous Like Chapaa article. Gerald is an Internet entrepreneur who has a network of 15 websites. He is also part of the team that runs Mara Gates which is a local tours company that relies on the web to drive the business.

We thought Gerald’s would be an amazing story. I hope you agree.

Q. Gerald, tell us about yourself and what you do.
I graduated from JKUAT university with a Bsc Science degree specializing in Mathematics, Chemistry in 2002. After university, I didnt want to become a teacher so I went to a college in Westlands to learn web design and other IT related studies. It was in that college that I learnt about Internet marketing.

I took it upon myself to learn SEO, PPC advertising etc and other forms of internet marketing. I also read stories of people that were making good amounts of money on the internet and this intrigued me.

The challenge was that there were no colleges in Kenya that taught Internet marketing well and the ones that touched on it were offering very shallow or basic information.

After college, I got a job with a tour company whose main source of business was the Internet and my work was to get more leads for the company through my self taught skills. After a few months business started increasing for that company and they had to move from a house they were operating in to a big office in town. From there on I increased my knowledge in Internet marketing.

I worked for 6ys for that tour firm until i resigned in 2009 to start my own company to help businesses make money off the Internet. The company is called Ebiz Connect Solutions – http://www.ebiz.co.ke.

In the process of time I also opened up a tour company towards the end of 2009 with a friend of mine. Our main source of traffic/business was from the web. This tour company, for its small size, has been doing very well and is able to compete with the big players in the tourism industry.

Q. How did you find out about selling sites and how did you start?
I stumbled upon selling of sites just by reading discussions going on in the internet. Thats when I came to learn about Flippa.com. I needed some money for personal issues so i decided to list one of my sites on Flippa.com and even though i didnt sell it at the price that i listed on that auction site, someone contacted me and we concluded the sale later.

[ For the readers: Gerald built and sold the website: www.cutedogbreeds.com ]

Q. www.cutedogbreeds.com?? How did that come about?

Since dogs have a huge fan base around the world, in 2007 I decided to built a site where people could upload photos of their dogs and rate them. To make some money, i incorporated Google Adsense into the site.

Q. What challenges did you face and how did you overcome them?

Concerning building a business off the web, the main challenge is that there is so much information to digest on the internet that it can incapacitate you from doing anything. There are too many “experts” out there trying to tell you what works or what doesnt and some of this information contradicts one another.

You also need to be cautious of sites peddling “secrets” that will teach you how to make thousands of dollars per month online. Yes there are genuine business persons that are making millions off the web but there are many more lying to unsuspecting people. Research first.

The other challenge is being consistent. Its easy to build a site but the hard part is marketing it. If one is not consistent and strategic in marketing, you will end up not making money and will end up dropping the project and start another one and this can become an endless cycle

Q. What are the challenges of being an entrepreneur in Kenya?

For internet entrepreneurs some of the challenges are;
– Slow internet connections
– Lack of proper training in Internet marketing
– Limited startup capital to run the business

Q. What was critical to your success?

Not giving up. Also you need to treat making money online as a serious business and not just something you try

Q. What about the competition and marketing, do you need to advertise, print flyers participate to conferences or is it mostly word of mouth?

Just like any offline business, for your website to be seen, one needs to advertise. Whether offline or online, you need to have a budget for marketing your business. From personal experience, I prefer marketing my internet businesses online as this is more effective.

There are various methods you can use to market your business online. Some of them include optimising your site and building backlinks to your site in order to get high rankings in Google. You can also use PPC (Pay Per Click) to advertise your services. PPC is very effective if done correctly. My tour company gets a lot of business by advertising through PPC

Q. Do you think that in order to “make it big” online you have to live in a western country? Or does Kenya offer more or less the same opportunities?

You dont have to live in any western country to be a success. You can do it right from the comforts of your home. Our tour company is doing well and we are selling travel all over the world right here in Kenya.

Q. Where do you see yourself and your business (es) in the next 5 years?

Making passive income from Affiliate marketing about $3000 per month

Q. If you had to do it all over again, what would you do differently?

Create a plan and strategies my income expectations and how to execute each goal consistently in order to reach the expectations that I have set.

Q. What advice do you have for internet business entrepreneurs in Kenya?
Building an internet business takes time, effort and money. Many want to try and cut corners believing the lie that one can make money quickly and fast.

That is all for today, readers. You can get in touch with Gerald by visiting his website: www.ebiz.co.ke

Daktari Mtanzania … Now in The US of A

You remember those ads you see on the streets that go like: “Daktari Mtanzania anayetibu magonjwa 75…..?

Well, have a look at this:

I will cast a powerful SPELL to get you whatever you want for $5
Spell Caster, Master Shaman Crystal Indigo will perform an extremely powerful spiritual spell for ANY need that you desire. Want to find your true soul mate? Want an ex- lover back? Need more money? Want to lose weight fast? Do you have a serious problem that needs fixing?The spell I cast will quickly and dramatically change your life!

YES, now you can get services za “Daktari” online, for $5…

Link: I will cast a powerful SPELL to get you whatever you want for $5

What do you think?

pesaDroid

pesaDroidI came across a very interesting Android application for your mobile phone – pesaDroid.

As much as I loathe Safaricom sometimes, I cannot live without my MPESA. Problem is, MPESA text messages are deleted (by me) as soon as I get them …. which unfortunately means I often cannot keep a record of who paid me or what payments I made. Don’t even mention that I then have to spend Kshs 1/- to find out my MPESA balance. This is where pesaDroid comes in, it helps you to monitor your MPESA transactions. specifically, it offers the following features:

  1. Ability to scan your SMS inbox and retrieve MPESA transactions
  2. Ability to store the transaction data in an internal database so that evidence of a transaction persists even after the SMS is deleted.
  3. Ability to generate regular statements from these transactions
  4. Ability to send the statements to your email address.
  5. Ability to send us feedback for improvement of the service.

This nifty little app is available for sale on the Android market at Kshs 256.84

More information: pesaDroid

What do you think of pesaDroid?

Education Reform in Kenya

I came across an article titled “The Golden Age of Education” which is really about the problems with education in the developed world. I read it and felt it was talking about the exact problems facing education in Kenya. Here’s a few paragraphs:

“10 years ago, if you did well in high school you’d get into college. If you went to college and finished your degree, with fairly high likelihood you could get a job with a respectable salary. Nothing in the world is ever truly a given, but I think it’s fair to say that what arose in colleges were certain tracks that you could follow to the end where there was a job waiting for you. If you studied Finance, Engineering, or Business, you were competing for the best jobs but you always had a fallback. Most other majors were in a similar albeit slightly less comfortable position. The occasional philosophy major aside, the career outlook was looking fairly bright. It’s in the news every day now though, the demand for jobs is not being met – winter’s coming or is already here.

There are a lot of theories floating around on what is the fundamental cause of the prevalent high unemployment rate, and with any complex problem the answer is probably some mixture of everything. A bad economy, jobs being displaced by software, and a generation not trained for the demands of modern society all likely factor into our current predicament.

It’s that last one that keeps me up at night. We spend 20 years educating our youth for a job that they will spend an average of four and a half years at, going through roughly 11 different jobs between the ages of 18 and 44 . The curricula taught at universities are completely out of date and out of sync with industries, and for most people you get a total of four years of professional education for the next 50 years of your life despite the fact that industries are created and destroyed in the span of a decade today.” [Read More]

Does this not just speak “Kenya” to you? In fact, I’d wager that in Kenya things are much, much worse. How many students who sat for their KCSE last year will even get the opportunity to go to University/College? Worse, how many university graduates will get good, well-paying jobs? Things do not look good at all in Kenya, do they?

In stark contrast, here’s an article about the remarkable success of the Finnish education system. Please read that article, it speaks of a drastically different approach to education that was taken by the Finnish government in an effort to reform its education system.

This is the kind of reform we need in Kenya. We do not need to make slight adjustment to the KCPE or to reduce the number of examinable subjects, we need to take a hard long look at our education system as a whole and pursue a wide far-reaching goal of reforming it as a whole (not just parts of it).

In university, I was in a class of about 50+ people. To this day, I know of only a handful who have found good, well-paying jobs or have started businesses. This has to stop. We need to commit ourselves to wholesome educational reform. Now.