By Claire Wanja/Statement
Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) has unveiled its 2016 local manufacturing SME support plan.
KAM Chief Executive Ms. Phyllis Wakiaga says the association is pleased to have reached this phase of engagement with local SMEs in terms of building their capacity to develop their businesses.
Speaking at the Access to Finance Workshop for SME Development hosted by KAM in Nairobi, Ms. Wakiaga said the Association has provided a detailed strategy of growing the SME sector next year in line with the recently unveiled Kenya Industrial Transformation Programme (KITP) by the Government. The plan will provide various services including business diagnosis, coaching and mentoring, management and productivity trainings, access to markets, access to finance, business and policy advocacy.
Potential of SMEs
Since 2009 KAM has conducted in-depth research and surveys on the potential of SMEs, their segmentation, sub-sectors and growing challenges.
KAM has performed in-depth analysis on product value chains and used these outcomes to inform this pilot programme on SME development.
To date the Association has trained 300 SMEs in different capacities and the plans unveiled today are geared towards expanding these services to more businesses.
KAM exists to advocate for a conducive business environment in which Kenyan industries can competitively operate in. “It is for this reason that we have gone ahead to execute a pilot programme based on the information we have gathered on the SMEs financing,” added Ms. Wakiaga.
KAM Vice Chairlady and CEO of Melvin Marsh International Ms. Flora Mutahi gave a captivating testimonial of how she started out as an SME and how she has grown over the years.
She reiterated that differentiation is what will make a company’s product or service different. “Innovation is the key to everything. Entrepreneurship is about thinking out of the box and taking risks and it should be encouraged.”
She identified with the myriad of challenges that SMEs face.
“The challenges we SMEs go through are unique in its own way but there are solutions to these challenges. As KAM, our zeal to elevate the SME sector is driven by the desire to enhance our business competitiveness as a country, uplifting the quality and standards of our own products and services and growing investor confidence and interest in our country.”
KAM is keen on partnering with government entities to actualize the recently launched KITP, at the heart of which lies the goal to develop SMEs in order to then revitalize our entire industrial sector. “Favourable laws will need to be in place that will allow SMEs to grow. KAM looks forward to growing innovations and providing mentorship programmes for SMEs,” said Ms. Mutahi.
Speaking on behalf of the Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Industrialization and Enterprise Development, Ms. Jane Aranga, Director Micro Small and Medium Enterprise stated that SMEs are the key drivers of economic growth.
“The government is a facilitator for an enabling business environment. This event here today further demonstrates the strength and focus of industry whose objective is not only to make profit but to support in transforming the country into a newly industrialized high middle income nation by the year 2030,” added Ms. Aranga.
The session featured testimonials and peer learning from SMEs, a mentors panel, a finance panel and business to business meeting between SME’s and Financiers.
The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) was noted to play a critical role in enhancing access to finance through the development of regulations that enhance innovative financing such as credit information and promoting the customer enhancement development.
Mr. Gerald Nyaoma, the Director Bank Supervision Department at CBK said “To date, the CBK has enhanced Mobile-phone financing services, Microfinance Banks, Agency Banking modes and the expansion of branches network of Commercial Banks to enhance access of financial opportunities.”