County Governors, Government of Kenya, United States, and Strathmore Support Small Enterprises to Accelerate Economic Growth
Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) play an important role in Kenya’s economy, contributing to poverty reduction, job creation, and income generation. But, MSMEs face a number of challenges that limit the growth of their businesses, which often excludes them from investment and trade opportunities.
Strathmore University Business School (SBS), in partnership with the United States Government through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), launched the Kenya Small Business Development Centers (Kenya SBDC) programme in May 2021 to support MSMEs by working in partnership with the County Governments to tailor MSME support to local business needs.
The Governors’ Roundtable held on December 7, was the first step in creating a network among the Governors to discuss the importance of MSMEs at the county level on job creation and economic growth. The roundtable brought together Governors from Isiolo, Nakuru, Kisumu, Makueni, Mombasa and Kiambu to discuss the role of MSMEs in Kenya’s economic growth. The event was attended by H.E. Hon. Dr. Mohamed Kuti, H.E. Hon. Lee Kinyanjui, H.E. Hon. Prof. Anyang Nyong’o, H.E. Hon. Kivutha Kibwana, H.E. Hon. James Nyoro, Amb. Johnson Weru (PS, MoITED), Mr. Henry M. Rithaa (CEO, MSEA), Mark Meassick (USAID Kenya and East Africa Mission Director), Dr. Vincent Ogutu (Strathmore University, Vice Chancellor Designate) and Dr. George Njenga (Strathmore University Business School, Executive Dean).
“We are bringing together U.S. and Kenyan business expertise and using it to help Kenyan MSMEs take advantage of local and export market opportunities, access finance, and, more broadly, to strengthen Kenya’s economic competitiveness,” said USAID Kenya and East Africa Mission Director Mark Meassick during the event.
The roundtable discussion focused on how to address the major challenges that impede the growth of MSMEs, including insufficient access to enterprise financing; poor adaptability to rapid technology changes; limited access to local, regional, and international markets; unsupported infrastructure; and inadequate knowledge and skills. The discussion also focused on the impact of COVID-19 on MSMEs and how to support MSMEs in a post COVID-19 environment.
The Kenya SBDC program will follow the U.S. SBDC model (for more information see: https://americassbdc.org/) to establish an accredited local network of county-based business centers that support MSMEs with information, data, trainings, and business advisory services. The pilot for the county-based business centers will occur in Isiolo, Nakuru, Kisumu, Makueni, Mombasa and Kiambu Counties, increasing MSME’s access to skills and technology for scalability, market access, and networking with other stakeholders.
The Kenya SBDC program also builds linkages between Kenyan and American MSMEs to transfer best practices and proven models from the U.S. SBDCs to Kenya’s county-based business centers. This helps Kenyan MSMEs more effectively take advantage of local and export market opportunities, have improved access to finance, apply market analytics, and benefit from a supportive business-enabling policy environment at the county level.