The artisan craft industry is the second-largest employer in the developing world. Artisans worldwide face barriers entering the global market due to a lack of financial infrastructure keeping them trapped in poverty.
SOKO has set out to solve this problem by building a manufacturing platform using mobile technology to connect independent artisans directly to our business and the global marketplace. Our technology suite organizes over 2300 independent, distributed artisans effectively creating an efficient and demand-responsive “virtual factory”. Our ethical and sustainable SOKO jewelry brand is the proof point. SOKO's business model provides economic opportunity and financial inclusion for marginalized artisans who are now earning 4.8x more than an average Kenyan workshop. Unlike centralized factory production, we are using technology and systems design to empower human capital, not displace it.
Having proven this concept over the last six years, we propose piloting an Artisan Resource Centre to support the Kenyan artisan craft sector for a period of two years. The program includes hands on, one on one training for new and current artisan entrepreneurs as well as access to specialized tools and equipment in SOKO’s model workshop, thereby increasing their income sustainably.