It is an idea that as the new Head of Risk at Kopo Kopo —the FinTech company that brought us “Lipa na Mpesa"—she takes to heart. And when implemented well, has placed her in a company that is at the cutting edge of the evolving FinTech industry in Kenya.
“I had previously worked at a financial institution and I wanted a change," she explains. "At that point, technology in banking and FinTech were emerging and becoming more stable. I wanted to be a part of that and I knew that many financial institutions did not have a risk and controls function.”
This included Kopo Kopo, who brought Muyeshi on board three months ago to create a risk management framework that would increase the risk awareness culture within the company. But creating that culture and processes from scratch does have its difficulties, she says.
“The challenge is building the structure in a company where they are not used to it,” she says, adding that the difficulty comes in persuading the team to consider all perspectives when developing new ideas.
“They will have ideas that they want to take on, but I am the one who throws a spanner in the works. It’s just tough love,” she says. “I am working with them and making them look at things from another perspective, just so they can make an informed decision.”
Muyeshi advises that even though many startups cannot afford to have a point person to manage their risk, they can try to implement the practice of considering different perspectives when developing an idea while also still pushing for fast growth.
So how did Muyeshi, a certified public accountant with an economics degree set herself up in one of the most innovative industries in her field today? She quickly identified FinTech as a space that will disrupt and grow for years to come, and that managing the risk around that growth would prove important.
“You always want to position yourself so you are always relevant as [the company or industry] grows,” she advises anyone who is in an industry affected by technology. “You don’t want to be caught. Move where the technology is going.”
She adds that even if your industry does not work directly with technology, it could be disrupted at any moment. Her key advice: don't’ get comfortable!
“Whenever you see there is a new technology [or trend], dive in and get involved. Many people don’t want to get involved in what they don’t know. They’d rather stay in their comfort zone and stick with what they know. But l really ask those people to understand these new processes because it will make you relevant."