Et si l’Afrique devenait l’un des continents pionniers de la révolution numérique ?
[INTERVIEW] June Syowia (CEO/Founder, Beiless Group) : "I believe that progress should be socialized"
What can you highlight in your background / experiences that can portray innovation in a positive light ?
In 2013, I teamed up with members of my community to come up with new responses to the needs of the area we lived in, which is a semi-slum neighborhood. The biggest challenges we had were crime, violence, unemployment and filthy environment so we innovated socially by creating a gated community system that housed 10-15 houses called courts. Each court is managed by the young people who live there who then identify income-generating activities on the spaces they transform and create employment internally. The residents would then contribute towards their payment for maintenance of their neighborhood. This social innovation has created hundreds of jobs, crime has reduced by 80% and it's generally improved the standards of living of the community.
My first encounter with innovation was when I was 15 years old in high school for the science congress. My partners and I came up with two projects: a science project on how to make Asprin from sawdust and an agriculture project on how to make pesticides from pawpaw leaves. We presented the cases in competitions till the regional levels but since we were students we didn't get to implement them. Despite this, the experience and practicality we had to go through to come up with the solutions really opened my mind to the fact that anyone can invent no matter the age, background or gender and its important to encourage innovation
To what extent is your activity valuable in everyday life for individuals and businesses ?
I run a technology firm in Kenya holding 3 entities in digital solutions, ecommerce and agribusinesses. Since we are in a space that has fast changing trends, we are constantly reinventing our products and processes consistently. As the leader, I have to ensure that we work collaboratively with the team and that they are empowered and inspired to embrace change. We ensure that we help our clients understand their users and make maximum impact in their service or product offerings. Through this, my team gets to work in a healthy environment and our clients get to increase their profitability through improved productivity and value. This is important for me to implement every day.
Today and tomorrow, what are the main challenges running through Kenyan society ?
One of the main challenges facing Kenyans is corruption, especially government corruption that ends up trickling into the economic development of the country and its citizens. This is a today and future challenge as there's little hope for change. It's closely followed by poverty which is caused by lack of employment that has risen to 11.9% due to the pandemic which has resulted in high crime rates.
What is your personal idea of progress ?
I believe that progress should be socialized such that instead of focusing purely on technological advancement that result in their own share of unintended consequences, we should also think about the impact the present scientific and technological solutions would have on future generations. Progress is a process with constant ups and downs but you cannot underestimate it because innovations and discoveries in different fields are continually making the future better for humanity.