Microsoft on Friday 22nd held a workshop with over 70 business women who run SMEs at Serena Hotel Nairobi. The workshop tackled the tools that they as Small and Medium Enterprise owners would require to scale their businesses without going to the pains of acquiring expensive software for each task in business management. The workshop was tagged “Build your Business Workshop” and attendees were women from across the country Kenya. Specifically the approach was to train them on how to use Office tools to assist them n managing and marketing of their businesses.
The event was organized under the banner of Microsoft Women of WECA (WOW) which helps women excel in ICT and also build their businesses without necessarily investing too much on ICT tools and Supa Mamas, a marketing and events company which brings together business women from different backgrounds to Inform, Connect and Inspire Mothers in Kenya by exposing them to opportunities available to grow their businesses.
The 4Ps of a business (product, pricing, placement and promotion) were addressed and attendees shown how this can be easily managed via Office tools. The tools showcased are Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Lync, One Note, Office 365, Skydrive.
“By bringing together women from various SMEs across the country Microsoft hopes to significantly increase the number of women entrepreneurs using technology tools to manage and grow their businesses,” said Clare Mungai the head of the Microsoft Women of WECA organization.
The business women were shown for example, how powerful Excel is in managing business data and presenting it in a very orderly manner. They were showed how they could use the same data in presenting business progress details to banks if they needed to visualize to their banker how their business was doing. Powerpoint presentations, Word and One note were also projected as good tools in displaying, sharing and storing business information.
The SMEs also got to see how they could use Lync to interact remotely and share files over the internet. Cloud computing, which is the big word in town also got a detailing with Office 365 and Skydrive as tools to store and access data remotely in a secure manner. This is also quite handy as information backup that can be accessed from anywhere with an internet access.
“It has been a very interesting experience getting people to appreciate what online platforms can do. With tools like Microsoft Office 365, one can now have a web presence and word documents stored online that can be worked on by 2 or more people. This helps these women market and grow their small businesses on the internet. We are grateful to Microsoft for coming up with this innovative product tht aims to help the African woman.” said Christine Kasinah-Odero, founder of Supamamas.
The business women were also showed how to create a web presence by way of creating free websites on Office 365 and also on the use of social media to scale their businesses and reach out to new and existing customers. Microsoft recommended Yammer which is a Microsoft Social Enterprise Network that will help link the SMEs with individuals from other organizations.
They were also reminded that Microsoft XP is reaching end of life in year 2014 and that they adjust accordingly.