The rise of a successful entrepreneur
It is with great sadness that we announce the death of visionary entrepreneur Jyoti Mukherjee, CEO of Software Technologies Limited (STL). Mukherjee’s career and life path in technology started in 1991 when she and her husband, Sanjiv Mukherjee, started STL. Over the duration of three decades, Mukherjee slowly, steadily, built an award winning business. She steered STL into the future, making it as one of Kenya’s Top 100 Mid-Sized Companies. The competition is a partnership between KPMG and the Daily Nation. STL proceeded to stay on top for a decade. This Top Mid-Sized businesses survey looks at SMEs with an annual turnover falling between Ksh70 million, and Ksh1 billion.
Award-winning top CEO
Jyoti Mukherjee was an accomplished entrepreneur who was respectfully named Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year, a Timeless Woman of Wonder, the Top Businesswoman in ICT, and a Top CEO many times over. Without a doubt she has a substantial number of mentees. Her work in the tech industry also earned her a host of other global acknowledgements. Small wonder she made it to the ICT Hall Of Fame, an award whose recognition was by our very own Ministry of ICT.
New millennium leader
An Indian who made Kenya her home, Mukherjee was more than her much-deserved awards. She grew the business to unimaginable heights. Since 1991 when she launched it, STL has expanded across 3 continents. From West Africa where they designed their first French e-board software, the rest of East Africa and Zambia, all the way to the Middle East. She led STL into the next decade, nay, next millennium, with eHorizon Mkataba, a software that services businesses big and small. It gives them agency over their legal existence and legal processes. It does this by creating a platform that allows them to do all that appertains to contracts. It also serves the probably unintended side effect of teaching and educating all who interact with it on Kenyan contract law.
Creative use of tech
Over time, she found her way inside boardrooms and board member’s minds with her e-governance tool, eHorizon eBoard. This serves the purpose of governing, tracking and centralising communication for board members. It created a virtual boardroom where board members could do business without disrupting their daily work lives. Beyond that, she streamlined the legislation process with e-parliament. This does the work of helping parliamentarians keep track of what would otherwise have been haphazard records.
Jyoti Mukherjee did what technology was made to do; connect people. This she did by building bridges and making their lives easier. It is a safe bet that Mukherjee’s technology touched countless lives beyond the 150 corporations that enjoyed the product of her genius. In addition to that, these likely include all the people who saved time which they then enjoyed with their loved ones, allowing them to care for their families.
Jyoti Mukherjee was herself a woman who put her family first, an attribute she was known for. It is her son, Chets Mukherjee, who co-runs the company, STL, with Jyoti Mukherjee. Where others saw a need and likely disharmony, she drew inspiration from it. She saw possibilities and solutions where complex problems existed. She brought everyone and everything together into a tight, tidy, organised, easily accessible circle with an elegance and beauty only made evident in one with such symmetry of thought. A problem-solver at her core, she was herself an original. A maverick who stepped into the future before her peers had a chance to put on their shoes, let alone tie their laces.
A beautiful legacy
Her legacy will be best remembered far and wide over her Institute of Software Technology, uplifting the industry by training talent. Here she taught young minds, absorbing the top 5 into her organisation, and sharing them with the industry top players. Numbering hundreds, these students will be a generous part of her legacy. She was not just the Top ICT Businesswoman in Africa (2007). Hers is the kind of life fully lived. Jyoti Mukherjee touched her team of employees, growing from a handful of just 5 to become a powerhouse in East Africa, straight to a global enterprise straddling 3 continents; Africa, the Middle East and UAE.
Similarly, her legacy also lives on. Even though she is gone, thanks to EAPEF (a $63 billion American private equity fund), her business is set to grow bigger and stronger. Their investment allows STL to further spread its wings across Africa not just for its patented technology that has seen them rise to the top, but also owing to its certified training institute.
For a woman who believed in her father’s ideology of “high thinking, simple living,” her description of success is befittingly based on these 6 things. “Planning, focus, self-belief, a positive attitude, love for those around us, and a strong work ethic.” If there ever was something Jyoti Mukherjee would be glad to see live on, it would be this philosophy as her legacy. She leaves behind a grieving tech community that she certainly transformed. Eventually, in her own unique way, she shaped the tech landscape not just in Kenya or East Africa, but also, the world.
Article by Carol Odero, published in CIO EAST AFRICA, the leading magazine for the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) industry in East Africa, published by Kommunication Ultimate Limited (KUL) in conjunction with the International Data Group (IDG), a world-renowned publisher of legendary brands.