THE opportunity

Somo is the root of a Swahili word meaning "lesson".

We are called Somo because we all have lessons to learn from each other. Visionary entrepreneurs exist in informal settlements around the world. 

Somo is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit and pledges that 100% of donations go to funding our entrepreneurs.

the need

1 billion people live in poverty.


Cities are increasingly overcrowded, with growing slum populations. Those urban slums have poor infrastructure with little to no health care, education, or economic opportunity. These otherwise dire conditions create huge opportunities for social entrepreneurs.

There are amazing entrepreneurs with community-changing ideas that come from low-income backgrounds. But these entrepreneurs lack the training, capital, mentorship and market access, to bring change in their communities.

our mission &

Somo identifies, trains, funds, and mentors entrepreneurs looking to drive social change by building enterprises in their own low-income urban communities. We invest in social entrepreneurs and provide the training and tools to help them build enterprises that change their communities from within. By investing in the right people, we help break the cycle of poverty and help bring long-term stability to urban slum areas.



Buruka is a 3-month training program that teaches business skills, storytelling, and financial literacy. The training is tailored to the needs of each entrepreneur and driven by the market research they conduct with our assistance. Training starts with problem-solving and ideation, encompasses market researchbusiness planning, financial modeling and digital literacy, and finishes with capitalizing a business and a presentation to volunteer judges by each  entrepreneur.

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Boost Biz na Somo is our basic business program that focuses on existing small businesses to help upscale current operations. During this training, we teach practical skills like reporting, profits and loss, customer relations, and pitching. Trainees will get a chance to pitch their business in front of Somo entrepreneurs and get feedback and advice on both their pitches and their businesses. We work with partners to provide grant or debt financing to the businesses. The Somo team then does monthly follow-ups with trainees for 6 months as they start their businesses.​

how we do it?



Digikua is a unique record-keeping system that our entrepreneurs access via either USSD or WhatsApp. DigiKua enables them to update their cash flow, inventory and sales in real time, and have that data automatically updated to a cloud that generates financial records. We plan to offer this service to institutions outside of Somo in 2021.



DigiSomo includes a set of virtual training tools — DigiMessage, DigiVideo and DigiVoice — available through WhatsApp, YouTube and a toll-free number. Together with Arifu and Portable Voices (a Somo business), we developed accessible story content and gamified quizzes for DigiSomo. Somo training content is now more readily available to entrepreneurs in Buruka and Boost Biz, and accessible for the first time to external entrepreneurs.

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As part of our Acceleration program, Somo  provides non-repayable financing to

entrepreneurs for initial capital expenditures to get their ventures started.

Later stage funding is provided as debt capital. Continued funding is contingent on success metrics developed by the entrepreneurs and Somo team.



During our Acceleration program,

entrepreneurs receive 1:1 coaching from both the Somo team and our volunteer advisors. 

Somo advisors provide mentorship and help grow Somo businesses. Entrepreneurs have access to monthly startup series events where Somo advisors teach lessons on areas of expertise. Somo advisors provide 1:1 support to businesses either through office hours or by working directly with one enterprise.

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Somo Duka works with entrepreneurs to help them grow their sales channels during the Acceleration Program. We take a hands-on approach at every stage, from production to branding to helping market and sell products.

Products are sold through both Somo’s and third party’s online and physical channels.

WHAT's new?


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become a supporter

Interested in impacting entrepreneurship in Kenya?  Contribute to support entrepreneurs coming from low-income urban areas.  We pledge 100% of your donations to the entrepreneurs we work with


become An advisor

Our program would never be as successful as it is without the help from our smart and generous mentors.  We are proud of our community of professionals who are passionate about their work and willing to share their knowledge with the fresh entrepreneurs.


Are you a business professional who wants to share their skills with the community to help it grow? You are more than welcome to join us!


become a fellow

We value and appreciate volunteers, who help our entrepreneurs overcome some of the challenges they face in their business. As a fellow, you provide invaluable experience and this relationship is one of the primary reasons why our entrepreneurs are able to achieve great growth milestones for their enterprises.


Would you like to provide lessons, diagnostic assessments and recommendations that would inspire a local start-up to come up with data-driven conclusions that are right for them?


become an entrepreneur

We believe that there is a lot of potential and talent out there. Do you have a business idea and want to start your own small business? However, don't have skills and don’t know where to begin?


Our team is here to help you. Somo's Entrepreneurship Bootcamp is a 12-week course focused on getting you ready to launch your startup.  If you are interested click the button and apply!


our partners

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