Startups have become quite commonplace in Kenya as well as the global commerce. Every day, a fresh generation of entrepreneurs are leaving the corporate sector and branching out on their own. Through this model, a plethora of promising startups have been founded across the globe. As money is the Key element in startups, Priority considerations are usually given to seed capital, marketing budget and various avenues that a business can engage in to generate revenue, overlooking one crucial bit, the legal obligations.
For many start-ups especially in the tech arena, there is usually so much going on in the early stages of their business that they become oblivious to some really important legal issues. These issues can become soul crushing mistakes and pose serious threats to your business, resulting in its failure.
Many Kenyan entrepreneurs are of the impression that the only legal requirements they need to consider to start that Mtumba fashion line, or that home cooked food delivery service is by visiting the Nairobi City council website to check out the business permits, visit the KRA website for details on VAT taxing and voila! They are good to go.
Such kind of thinking is disillusioned and such are the people who end up facing unbearable consequences in legal recourse in the future; only because they did not take the time to perform extensive research on the legal requirements and obligations before setting up their businesses
Fortunately for Kenyans, there is a startup company looking to alleviate the repercussions associated with being at logger heads with the law makers; LOYASOFT LIMITED. According to the founder Rose Wanjala, Loyasoft Limited is a startup that tries to solve legal headaches for other startups trying to make a name for themselves. The company, which was invited to pitch in the NIW startups 2018, aims to demystify the legal issues that are a source of headaches for startup entrepreneurs.
The Idea behind Loyasoft
Getting competent and capable lawyers in the legal circles has always been a bit of a pickle. Lawyers have always been prohibited by the law to advertise or market their services in Kenya (according to rule 2 of the Advocates (Practice) Rules 1966 –which has been deemed unconstitutional by many). So in a bid to connect Lawyers to connect clients and lawyers, The Loya App was born.
The Loya App which can be downloaded on Play Store is a platform where one can find a lawyer as well as read on various legal topics. Logging into the App enables one to easily find a lawyer under any category. You can chat with them to find a solution for your legal problem as well as agree on the cost. Users also have the freedom to rate their lawyer. The company makes sure to follow up on instances where users give a low rating.
How is Loyasoft helping Kenyans?
- Mass sensitization on Legal matters
One of the main objectives from Loyasoft is to educate the masses on legal obligations/issues and requirements that face startups. Normally, it would cost about Ksh 100,000 to get a lawyer to write a contract for startups. Clearly not many people can afford that amount of money at the initial stages of starting a business. What most people don’t know is that they have other options available to getting a lawyer. One such option would be offering a lawyer some shares, (not more than 10%) after which the lawyer handles the startups’ legal matters until a startup can buy back their shares and retain the lawyer on consultancy basis. Such are the matters Loyasoft hopes to inform the public.
- Promote local Innovation
Loyasoft is also looking to work with Hubs to promote local innovation, encourage relevant actors to share knowledge, support networking among local stakeholders and create links to investors and international organizations. They are currently working with Pangea Accelerator at Strathmore University and are looking to work with NaiLab, iHub and also self-help groups and SMEs in the rural areas.
- Provide Legal Due Diligence
Besides the App, Loyasoft also hope to come up with a website. They intend to design their website in such a way that startup entrepreneurs can check on their legal due diligence. They also intend to include free downloadable legal document templates and a tab where one can easily communicate with a lawyer.