SMEs in Kenya are looking to hire and push for growth

Entrepreneurs in Kenya now have the opportunity to win up to Sh 3.6 million, following the launch of a new competition as a collaborative initiative between the Kenyan government and the World Bank. Big Four accounting and advisory firm KPMG will manage the MbeleNaBiz Business Plan Competition.

Despite being the backbone of the Kenyan economy, the small and medium enterprise (SME) sector in the country has been navigating a turbulent period in recent years. The country has fast become an attractive market for foreign investors, which has substantially increased competition for local businesses.

As international firms flood the market, a number of SMEs appear to have crumbled under the pressure. A report from earlier this year revealed that a lack of funding is leading to a number of closures amongst Kenyan SMEs. The latest competition is looking to cover this funding deficit.

The MbeleNaBiz competition, managed by KPMG, will provide grants to as many as 750 enterprises in Kenya, with the grant values ranging from Sh 900,000 to Sh 3.6 million. The competition falls within the ambit of the Kenya Youth Employment Opportunities Project, and is partly financed by the World Bank.

All districts in the country are eligible for applications, as is the broader Kenyan diaspora. IN addition to funding, victors of the competition are also set to receive training from established business professionals to help set up their business models.

Commenting on the competition, Peter Munya, Cabinet Secretary for the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Cooperatives said, “By investing in young entrepreneurs whose ventures will generate employment opportunities and earnings for other youth, the Competition will contribute to the development of an inclusive economy that provides opportunities for as many Kenyans as possible.”

Carlos Felipe Jaramillo, Country Director for Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia and Uganda at the World Bank added, “Young people are a vital driver of Kenya’s economy. In all our conversations with the youth, with Government, and with the private sector, one thing is clear: we have to support young entrepreneurs to create and grow their businesses, as this will further create jobs for other youth.”

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