Startups have a menu of tech apps to choose from


Small and medium-sized businesses are the backbone of many economies. Emerging markets continue to see a rising number of businesses open up in this segment with a variety of reasons driving this statistic.

Even as the ease of doing business improves in many countries established and start-up SMBs have woken up to the reality and need for every business to be technology-driven in one way or another. The difficulty for the majority of these businesses is getting to know what is available to them from the selection of vendors.

This trend has not gone unnoticed by the public cloud platforms - Microsoft's Azure, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud Platform, IBM Blue Mix and Alibaba Cloud, whose interests have been registered by a blend of market interventions.

Amazon Web Services have a running series called Startup Day that has been specifically designed for early-stage entrepreneurs and technical teams who are pre-seed or bootstrapped. AWS can get very intimidating and confusing if you don’t know what you are looking for, as choice is available across over 160 services. Startup Day Nairobi, held this week, offered a good agenda blend that covered go-to-market programs available to startups, technical tools for building a minimum viable product, marketing strategies, fundraising essentials and technical use cases and best practices from local startup customers. This allowed non-technical founders to get up to speed with what they may need to drive their businesses forward while affording their engineering counterparts opportunities for technical deep dives and consultation.

Google is also actively invested through several programs such a Launchpad, their acceleration program that helps startups build and scale great products, Google Developer Groups, Google Business Groups, Women Techmakers, Google Student Clubs and a host of topical engagements covering key areas of their vast services portfolio.


Some of these programs are independent community-led groups that they support. Currently, the leading mobile operating system in emerging markets is Android and this week Google hosted a Firebase meetup for developers, entrepreneurs, and advertisers. Firebase is a comprehensive mobile and web application development platform that abstracts the backend challenges that come with building services for a mobile-first world.

Both Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud Platform have generous credit programs that allow for rapid experimentation and iteration. Many businesses also find that they can run their services well within the free tier pricing packages on offer.

Mr Njihia is the Head of Business and Partnerships at Sure Corporation | | @mbuguanjihia