Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) has today launched the Manufacturing SME Hub geared towards preparing, nurturing and growing manufacturing SMEs to take full advantage of the available markets.
The Hub seeks to address the challenges affecting SMEs in the country including unfriendly policies and regulatory regime, tedious and lengthy process in quality standards and certifications, access to markets, access to affordable finance and poor governance structures.
State Department of Interior Principal Secretary, Dr. Eng. Karanja Kibicho noted that the government is keen on addressing the challenges hindering the growth of local industries, particularly SMEs.
“The Government is keen on growing SMEs as demonstrated by the Government’s directive for relevant ministries to devise SME – specific strategies to unlock the potential for small businesses in the country. We are keen on exploiting existing Memorandum of Understanding between Kenya and other States in order to grow our SMEs. We will also ensure that other state departments exploit these MOUs,” said the PS.
“We are also working towards promoting the competitiveness of local industries. To this end, we have reduced the number of agencies at the Port, from 28 to 4. This is geared towards reducing the time to clear goods at the port. We are also establishing a one-stop-shop for manufacturers to access all licenses needed,” added Kibicho.
State Department of Industry Principal Secretary, Betty Maina noted that the MSME Sector plays a crucial role in driving the growth of the economy.
“It is estimated that their production is minimal and many of them specialize in low value addition. Additionally, many small businesses are part of a huge informal economy which may seem to offer relief for their short term challenges but in the long run, minimizes their potential for growth, access to wider resources and markets,” said Maina.
“The government is keen on promoting the growth of SMEs by focusing on formalizing the informal segment of the SME Sector through the promotion and simplification for business start up operations, promoting access to finance and markets,” she added.
Speaking during the launch, KAM Chairman, Sachen Gudka noted that the Association is keen on supporting the development of inclusive, innovative, sustainable and competitive SME Sector in Kenya and in the region.
“In line with the Association’s core mandate, the Hub will focus on furthering fact-based advocacy to promote the global competitiveness of manufacturing SMEs. This is aimed at instilling SME policy and institutional sustainability on matters legal and regulatory, fiscal policy, intellectual property rights and patenting, and regulatory compliance services, among others,” said Gudka.
62% of KAM Members are SMEs. We recognize that SMEs are the primary beneficiaries of steps to streamline regulatory compliance. We also recognize that it is critical to formalize the informal segment of the SME sector through the promotion and simplification of business start-up operations,” he added.
The KAM SME Hub will also offer incubation services, acceleration services and scale up services to Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises respectively. Incubation Services include start-up support, financial literacy programs, business rescue advice, SME boot camps and mentoring services. On the other hand, Acceleration Services include market linkages, financial linkages, study tours and training, standards and certification support, and mentoring and coaching support whereas Scale-Up Services will provide value chain linkages, financial linkages and export market linkages.
KAM Director and SME Hub Lead, Ciiru Waithaka noted that it is the right time to create a conducive space for SMEs to be productive and profitable at local and regional levels.“It is about time that we promote the growth of MSMEs. We can achieve this by creating a more friendly business environment, lifting obstacles in the internal market, enhancing skills and uplifting standards, easing access to finances and fostering innovation,” concluded Waithaka.