High Performance Computing is a tool that can revolutionize so many different processes and activities in Kenya. Why is it not receiving greater attention?
In the last few days, United States International University (USIU) played host to a first ever forum on High Performance Computing (HPC) in Kenya. HerBusiness was present to find out what benefits entrepreneurship can draw from it, particularly women entrepreneurs in Kenya.
The first thing we discovered is that HPC is mainly sold for its benefits towards public policy. High Performance Computing is simply aggregation of computing power. This is used to improve data collection and analysis in research.
It helps public service delivery to the public by bringing to the table better refined information on problems. One problem that could be solved by HPC is that of hawkers in Nairobi.
But another reason HPC is biased towards its benefits to the public sector is because its expensive to set up. It literally cannot take off without Government support. Good thing, the Kenyan Government was represented at this forum by the ICT Ministry and they reiterated commitment to boost ICT in Kenya.
The HPC forum at USIU also touched on benefits presented to the private sector. Here is what we compiled as benefits to women entrepreneurs in Kenya:
One problem encountered in supporting women entrepreneurs in Kenya is that nobody can tell what each of the many women running businesses across the country consider their biggest challenge. You only have to check out our interviews with business women to see what they wished they knew before starting their businesses. So many different answers.
HPC would enable data on these kinds of issues be collected and analyzed to better fit the context of each woman. It would also allow for structure or a depository of all that information to avoid repetition, and instead seek out new problems to solve.
Remember when we talked about entrepreneurship in Kenyan Counties, beyond Nairobi? Entrepreneurs in these areas are hampered by lack of professional associations and properly structured networking groups. This is because they operate in isolated markets; therefore, opportunity to link is limited.
HPC based research can map out where women entrepreneurs are, what is it that they do and answer questions on the best ways to help them reach out to one another. This would not be difficult at all, HPC was shown to tell air quality of where you stand.
3. Market Inisght
Many women entrepreneurs in Kenya are guilty of getting involved in low-entry-barrier businesses where competition is incredibly high such that they squeeze the profit margin of everyone else. This can happen because information on market is not easily available.
HPC can answer questions on market characteristics, generalizations of market segments and give clearer details on market trends. This will help the business plan stage of an enterprise, which will reduce the number of new businesses in Kenya that fail in the first 4 years.
4. Product Development
This is another sweet spot for women in Kenya. Women entrepreneurs can develop new products for new markets by finding out problems communities in Kenya say they face in their lives.. There is always opportunity in every problem.
You only have to look around to see all the opportunities laying around. There is value addition for all the agricultural products that go to waste, there is manufacturing to solve unemployment in Kenya and there is also the export business to help Kenyan women become more competitive and innovative.0