Kountable became one of the fastest growing privately held companies in America by proving out a model for integrating the resourcefulness, domain expertise, local know-how and last-mile delivery capability of SME (small and medium enterprise) resellers in challenging markets into a scalable model for digitized global trade. Including SMEs more effectively in global trade is critical to address the challenges posed by COVID-19 and the push to reach the UN Sustainable Development goals. Governments, NGOs, multilateral institutions and corporate buyers often depend on these local small traders to bring the equipment and supplies needed to provide and improve medical care, support the growth of much needed information and communications technology (ICT) and build better infrastructure to support improved quality of life as well as economic and climate goals.
Kountable was able to grow quickly because of the enormous pent up demand and latent capability of these SMEs to deliver so much more to their markets with even a modicum of support in the critical areas of sourcing, funding and project management. Since its launch in East Africa in 2015, Kountable has built an extensive suite of services and partnerships to support and optimize trades where SMEs are necessary intermediaries between large suppliers and large buyers of quality products. By running their trades on Kountable’s technology platform, small business owners are able to benefit from a secure digital system of record that brings trust and transparency to their transactions and opens up a world of collaborative opportunities with global funders, trade service providers and suppliers who all plug into these opportunities through the Kountable Trade Network. By working in partnership with buyers in-market and the entrepreneurs who make it their business to both know what is needed and find products that better serve the needs they see, Kountable is tapped into the “demand chain” in the markets it serves. Focused on ensuring that the most needed goods get where they need to go on time, at a fair price, and in a way that is well-governed, trackable and auditable, Kountable looks to support SMEs and their larger institutional customers in these markets in getting what they need efficiently to build better outcomes in the critical areas of health, IT and infrastructure development.
Kountable has purchased and delivered $60 million US in goods and services globally in support of these trades and generated more than $20 million in revenue for the East African SME traders it has partnered with. We know that the growth this recognition from Inc. Magazine represents is just scratching the surface of the demand and the desire for growth and contribution that our SME members—past and future, in Africa and beyond—share. The stakes have never been higher for making both global trade (especially for COVID response) and SME businesses in challenging markets work better. We celebrate with appreciation for those who helped us prove the model with better than 10X growth to the end of 2019, and look forward to what comes next!
See the full Inc. 5000 list here.
As a kid growing up in Boston in the 1990s, my top sport was American football. I spent most of my time on the field either catching passes on offense or trying to prevent other people from catching passes on defense.