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Successful Inaugural SME Conference at Strathmore University

The Inaugural Small and Medium Entreprises Conference, organised by the Strathmore Enterprise Development Centre (SEDC) kicked off to great start, Thursday 28th November, 2013. The 2-day, unique conference sought to attain the objectives of enhancing business linkages and networking as well as assist SMEs  identify and exploit various opportunities available in the market. It also sought to enhance SME competitiveness through innovation, hence its theme; ‘Moving SMEs to the next frontier, through innovation’


The well-attended conference by SMEs from all sectors was graced by a number of high profile guests, among them, Vice Chancellor, Prof. John Odhiambo; Mr. Joseph Mbeva, Asst. Director in charge of Industries from Ministry of Industrialization; Ms. Anna Othoro from Nairobi City County, Ms. Nancy Mwangi from KWFT, Dean of School of Management and Commerce & SEDC Director, Dr. David Wang’ombe, and KRA Commissioner, Ms. Alice Awuor.  


In his opening address to welcome guests to Strathmore, the Vice Chancellor, emphasized that indeed the attainment of Kenya’s economic blueprint Vision 2030 requires universities to play a key role in instilling an entrepreneurial spirit among students. ‘Students of today are the entrepreneurs of tomorrow’, he argued, ‘This will propel the much needed entrepreneurial evolution, where upon completion of their studies, students become employers rather than employees’.


Assistant Director of Industries, Mr. Joseph Mbeva outlined the various initiatives that the Ministry of Industrialization and Enterprise Development has put in place to ensure that small and medium enterprises thrive and succeed. He was emhatic that indeed the ministry is aware of SME sector’s potential to provide employment to over 70% of the population and that an enabling business environment was a priority for his ministry.


Ms. Anna Othoro, an Executive Committee member, Nairobi City County, being the engaging speaker that she is, raised hopes among many SMEs, as she outlined measures the county government has put in place, among them, ease of acquiring business operating licenses within a day to ensure that SMEs operating in Nairobi County can run businesses profitably. She also shared the vision of the County govt for women and youth, public-private partnerships, housing projects in which the NCC is partnering with JKUAT students among others.


The SME conference, aired live on K24, incorporated presentations from invited guests as well Q&A sessions in which entrepreneurs asked questions from the panelists. This gave an opportunity to get the experts to interact with audience on challenges, opportunities that entrepreneurs are facing in their business operations. Questions raised included pertinent issues on tax, policy, infrastructure etc.


While launching its unique online directory, Dean/ SEDC Director, Dr. David Wang’ombe shared the vision of SEDC to provide an online platform where entrepreneurs can easily be located, online discussions, online consultations, online marketing, all these with a view to increase linkages and opportunities, markets and even knowledge for entrepreneurs. He urged many entrepreneurs to join the online directory.


This SME Conference attracted a number of sponsors among them, K24, Kenya Women Finance Trust (KWFT), and UAP Insurance. True to its unique nature, the conference provided an opportunity for entrepreneurs to showcase their products and services in the University graduation grounds. The University grounds were suddenly very attractive and busy for the 2-days as exhibitors put up appealing stands, discussed their products and services to persuade potential consumers of these products.


About SEDC

SEDC is a research centre under the Strathmore School of Management and Commerce (SMC). The Strathmore Entrepreneurship Development Centre (SEDC) endeavors to promote enterprise growth nationally, regionally and internationally by offering superior quality and affordable professional training and guidance to emerging and established entrepreneurs, by undertaking appropriate research in collaboration with industry.  To read more on SEDC click here.


Congratulations are in order to Dr. Wang’ombe and the SEDC team, for trailblazing, charting a new course for SMEs and putting up a well coordinated and flawlessly executed event.