World Bank has reaffirmed its support for Kenya’s Small and Micro Entrepreneurs (SMEs) through its latest initiative which seeks to offer Sh1.5 billion in grants to 750 businesses, 250 SMEs will get Sh3.6 Million while another 500 lot will get Sh900,000 each.
According to Country Director Carlos Felipe, the 10-week online competition, MbeleNaBiz, is looking for businesses with the potential to scale, generate profits for the founders and create more jobs for the youth, a similar program conducted in Nigeria saw the creation of nine jobs in every SME.
“Of the 850,000 jobs created last year, 83 percent came from the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) segment in Kenya. That means helping SMEs access credit could facilitate expansion, “ he said.
Trade and Industry Secretary Peter Munya said that the online portal will prioritize genuine startups whose growth have mainly been sabotaged by lack of credit.
This latest program reiterates WB’s commitment towards Kenya’s SMEs which has remained resilient despite many challenges, mostly characterized by poor funding.
In 2018, the Bretton Woods Institution approved a USD 50 Mn International Development Association (IDA) credit to increase scale innovation and productivity amongst Kenya’s enterprises.
Research indicates that micro businesses and SMEs account for 95 percent of firms in most countries. In Africa, these enterprises create 80 percent of employment and are mainly managed by a new middle class.
Small enterprises in Kenya have between Sh 500,000 and 5 Mn annual turnover and employ 10-49 people. On the other hand, Medium enterprises are reported to have a turnover of between Sh 5 Mn and 800 million and have 50-99 employees.