SokoText is an SMS-based “mobile, micro-franchised food logistics management system” – a long name for a simple but great idea.
SokoText is an SMS-based system developed by students of the London School of Economics created to help fresh produce kiosk micro-entrepreneurs leverage their purchasing power. Using SokoText, food kiosk proprietors aggregate their produce purchases to obtain better wholesale prices from suppliers. Typically, small-scale operators must buy produce in small lots dictated by the amount of their sales and available cash. SokoText aggregates the orders of individual kiosk owners to leverage their purchasing power and obtain better pricing by buying in larger lots. SokoText effectively creates a buying collective for kiosk operators thereby reducing fresh produce wholesale costs by 20 percent. Kiosk owners pass the savings along to their customers thereby increasing their sales.
Under SokoText, participating kiosk owners submit their order via an SMS message. Each individual order is consolidated with others by the SokoText system and a price quote is automatically sent back via SMS. In addition, SokoText operates conveniently located wholesale outlets where kiosk operators can pick up their purchase – each outlet designed to serve 150 kiosks. A successful pilot project has been operating in Mabatini, the Mathare Valley slum area outside Nairobi since August, 2013. The scalable concept not only helps small kiosk operators but improves the quantity, quality and variety of produce available to their customers.
SokoText was a finalist concept presented at the 2013 Hult Prize competition hosted by the Clinton Global Initiative in New York.