KNCCI and Absa to mentor SMEs at the Coast and Western Kenya regions
Over 2,000 small businesses at the Coast and Western parts of Kenya shall receive funding and business training to help them scale under a partnership between Absa Bank and the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI).
The beneficiaries will be trained on business fundamentals such as sustainability, fundraising, bookkeeping, and networking to transform them into profitable enterprises. The two institutions shall tour businesses in the counties of Kisumu, Kisii, Bungoma, Trans Nzoia, Uasin Gishu, Kwale, Taita Taveta, Mombasa, and Kilifi.
At the coast, the two institutions will engage stakeholders in the tourism, blue economy, and maritime sectors to understand how they can help SMEs exploit the resources in these sectors effectively.
“We see the coast belt as a region with immense business potential across diverse industries. For instance, the fishing industry alone is valued at Sh300 billion annually... Semi-commercial crops such as coconut, mango, cashew nuts, and sugarcane are other huge economic drivers which are largely dominated by small to large agribusinesses,” noted Absa Customer Network Director, Peter Mutua.
In Western Kenya, the two institutions will tap into agri-based as well as fisheries businesses, beginning with 200 SMEs in Kisumu. Lately, financial institutions have been expanding their lending portfolios to SMEs, realising that these businesses are the new frontiers for growth.
With this in mind, the banks are now proactively developing financial products that are tailored to the needs and shape of SMEs. Over the last five years, for instance, Absa has disbursed over Sh50 billion to SMEs under the Wezesha Biashara Programme. This has seen the bank record double-digit growth from the sector in the last year alone.
Absa and KNCCI will also undertake stakeholder engagements with the leadership of respective county governments to discuss their respective business agenda and priorities, with a view to integrating them into their strategic plans.