Kenyan startup M-Tenders Systems has launched East Africa’s first live online procurement system, looking to fully automate the tendering processes for all private and public companies operating in the region.
Electronic procurement has been a hot topic in Kenya of late, with president Uhuru Kenyatta recently warning all government officials they must use the new e-procurement system, as the government looks to tackle corruption and increase transparency.
M-Tenders has been launched with this in mind, but also to give a chance to thousands of entrepreneurs and companies previously locked out of traditional tendering processes.
“The current tendering processes employed by over 90 per cent of the private and public companies involve a lot of manual work, which makes it tedious and inaccessible to many,” said M-Tender Systems co-founder Dennis Rwito.
He said the startup was looking to put an end to the days of individuals travelling to Nairobi or other urban centres to drop tender documents in boxes.
“It is archaic and should not be the norm in this 21st century. IT solutions are available and a potential supplier should be able to apply for a tender from as remote a place as Mandera, as long as they have internet access, and not incur costs of travel. And as such we are proud to be able to launch this innovative system,” said Rwito.
M-Tender Systems co-founder Rodgers Ndung’u said though the benefits of the digital era are celebrated in all sectors and departments in organisations, procurement processes have continued to lag behind.
“This is because the tendering processes in most of these companies comprise complex paper work which discourages many potential applicants barred by limited time and manpower resources,” he said.
The new system is the result of three months of research on the best ways of ensuring transparency and accountability in procurement processes for both private and public sector organisations.
“I have in numerous occasions tendered for services and never known whether my applications were received or why they were rejected,” said Rwito, with the new platform set to inform users how many companies have been shortlisted for each service enlisted by the company owning the tender.
The system will also allow firms to pay tender application fees via online payment platforms and mobile money.
“Over one hundred private companies have applied to use the system in tendering while about fifty others have registered as suppliers. Our first client has so far received over 200 applications through the system two weeks ahead the tender closing date,” said Ndung’u.