UoN Graduate Invents App To Aid Businesses Save Money & Time

  • A file image of a woman using a phone.
    A file image of a lady using a phone
    Simon Kiragu
  • Business in Kenya and the world have collapsed due to poor accounting and dishonesty among employees and partners, a challenge, Joel Mwangangi Muriuki, took upon himself to help solve.

    The 34-year-old University of Nairobi alumnus developed a mobile application that can help business owners keep records of sales, profits and stock or inventory. The application is christened "Mhasibu."

    He studied Mathematics at UoN's Chiromo Campus but for the love of Computer Science, Joel pursued programming on the side as a passion.

    File image of Mhasibu founder Joel Mwangangi Muriuki.
    File image of Mhasibu founder Joel Mwangangi Muriuki.

    Speaking exclusively to Kenyans.co.ke on Thursday, January 21, 2021, Joel revealed that incidents of irregularities he witnessed while working at his father's restaurant in Kiritiri, Embu inspired his invention.

    "I created this app when I was trying to solve a challenge at my father's restaurant. I was trying to track the record of sales made in a day, and the software in the market is very expensive.

    "That is how I decided to develop an app that I can use on the phone to monitor the sales," Joel recounted, reiterating that employees failing to key in records was a key challenge.

    Mhasibu can be used by business providers in managing their enterprises, and keep daily track of the progress of their investments at the premises or while away.

    Joel focused fully on inventing and running the application in 2019 after leaving his previous job where he worked as a contractor for a local company. He now fully runs the application from his office.

    His work has attained international recognition with an international NGO showing interest in his idea, and making an order to suit international markets.

    "I got in contact with this NGO and they liked the idea. However, they were interested in a French version, because they were targetting West African countries. They also asked for a desktop version which I am working on right now," Joel stated.

    He revealed that he was working on a new feature that could see the app generate invoices.

    A screenshot of the Mhasibu app.
    A screenshot of the Mhasibu app.

    In developing the App, Joel cited time as the major challenge he faced since he developed the app himself.

    "I started working on the app in late 2018. So at the time, I was working so the only time I had to work on it was during weekends. But the most progress was achieved in 2020," he revealed.

    He stated that he was targetting thousands of users in 2021, from Small and Medium Enterprises to established oganisations.

    Joel elaborated on the vision he has for his product which includes an intriguing feature he is adding to the App with which small businesses will be able to acquire funding from Micro-Finance institutions, who can access the data and help them grow.

    "With the permission of business owners, we can be able to reach out to financial institutions and show them how a business is performing and if the user is interested in funding, the financial institution can issue monetary support or advice," Joel elaborated.

    Once a user has installed the application and launches it, there is an option to add the stock, after which the name of a product is required. One is then required to also key in the selling price of the product and its cost price.

    It is then that the app asks for you to scan the barcode using your phone camera, or key them manually. There is an icon on the same page that allows you to keep on adding stock if the products are different and many.

    To record a sale, an icon is presented to you by the app. After tapping on the icon, it opens the list of items in your stock. To complete the sale, scan the code and the item will be immediately taken off the stock list. 

    If a wrong barcode number is entered, the app will reject the sale. 

    A screenshot of the Mhasibu app.
    A screenshot of the Mhasibu app.

    The app's dashboard is inclusive of a window named "shop or attendant". If one has a number of outlets this is the window for them. Upon tapping the icon, there is an icon labelled "shop or outlet" which allows you to enter the location of the shop you want to monitor.

    After entering the location, tap on the card to be able to enter the name of the attendant, their job description and phone number. You will also be required to give them a password, after which you will be required to give them access rights. This is basically which features of the app you want them to access.

    To add more attendants to the same shop, click on the icon "add attendant".

    After logging in, the attendant can see the dashboard, showing their work progress, on a daily basis, including the time the services are sold. From the main end, you are able to monitor the progress of your employee.

    A user browsing through a smartphone for news.
    A user browsing through a smartphone for news.
    Simon Kiragu