SMEs, Startups to benefit from World Bank-funded program

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The Ministry of Industrialization, Trade and Enterprise Development in collaboration with the World Bank, Growth Frontiers, Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs and Nairobi Garage have launched the Startup Savanna program aimed at enhancing Kenya’s industrialization and competitiveness by increasing innovation and productivity in the private sector firms.

The program is a sub-component of the Kenya Industry and Entrepreneurship Project (KIEP), a Ksh 5.4 Billion World Bank funded project implemented by the Ministry of Trade. 

The program, which kicked off in 2019, targets to benefit close to 33,050 individuals, 162 Startups and 2,393 firms.  Through the program, Kenyan startups and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) will get access to global resources and networks of corporates, mentors, investors and potential partners.

Ministry of Industrialization Cabinet Secretary, Betty Maina lauded the program and urged Kenyan SMEs and Startups to sign up for the program to elevate their business Knowledge, improve visibility and expand opportunities.

The CS further outlined the role of technology and innovation in Kenya’s economy giving examples of MPESA and companies such as Cellulant as proof of growth in sectors such as financial services.

“They will get opportunities to be part of global incubators and accelerators for extensive business support and possible investments for their innovations and businesses,” she said

On her part, Cecilia Paradi-Guilford, the Kenya Industry and Entrepreneurship Project (KIEP) World Bank Task Force leader noted that the program would diversify Kenyan entrepreneurs and promote innovation in the SME sector which has been the driving force of the Kenyan economy.

“We hope to bring the best practices from other ecosystems to the growing Kenyan ecosystem and share Kenya’s example to the world.”

According to the Ministry of Trade and industrialization, the SME sector which employs close to 15 Million out of a total of 18.1 Million jobs created in 2019, plays a key role not only in job creation but also value addition, income generation, linkages with large firms and triggering consumption for the country’s overall economic growth.

If successful, the program is likely to boost President Uhuru Kenyatta’s big four agenda on manufacturing and create job opportunities.

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