Kenya: 200 SMEs to Benefit From Absa Empowerment Campaign

Kisii — At least 200 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Kisii county will benefit from a business empowerment tour by Absa Bank Kenya in collaboration with the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI).

Speaking during a stakeholder engagement session with businessmen and women at a hotel in Kisii town, interim Absa Bank Kenya PLC Managing Director Mr. Yusuf Omari said the campaign is aimed at building the capacity of businesses in the region.

“We are keen on identifying and exploiting opportunities for growth among SMEs in Kisii. As an enabler of business, we understand that empowering SMEs makes a substantial contribution to livelihoods and fosters inclusive growth for the region,” said Mr. Omari.

The campaign which will also be held in Kisumu, Bungoma, Trans Nzoia and Uasin Gishu counties is part of Absa’s commitment to working with Kenyans to achieve shared success and bring new possibilities to life.

Mr. Omari lauded the Kisii county government for setting up an investor-friendly environment for the private sector adding that the bank had entered into strategic partnerships to drive grassroots engagement with businesses from both industry and institutional levels.

The Managing Director noted they have partnered with KNCCI to provide mentorship and networking opportunities to businessmen and women across Kisii as part of their efforts to support enterprise development.

He said the forums address issues such as how to formalize business, access the right business products as well as ready markets for their goods and services.

Earlier this year, in partnership with the KNCCI, Absa upskilled over 1000 women entrepreneurs in Nairobi, Coast, Western, Nyanza, and the Rift Valley regions, training them on business fundamentals such as sustainability, fundraising, book-keeping, and networking to transform them into profitable operations.

In addition, over 20,000 women businesses in the last year have benefited from the Women in Business proposition that provides unsecured lending of up to Sh. 10 million, payable over 5 years for existing borrowers and Sh. 7 million for new borrowers payable in 4 years.

In the last five years, Absa has disbursed over Sh. 50 billion in loans through the Wezesha Biashara Program repositioning it as an enabler for SMEs.

According to Financial Sector Deepening (FSD) Kenya, SMEs account for 24 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), over 90 percent of private sector enterprises and 93 percent of the total labour force in the economy. – Kna

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