Karanja Kibicho, principal secretary for the Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government (L). Photo: Xinhua.
INTERNATIONAL – Kenya Association of Manufactures (KAM) on Thursday launched a hub to foster growth of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) through access to finance, markets and capacity development. 

 Kenyan government officials and corporate executives who attended the launch of Manufacturing SME Hub said it will help address regulatory, capacity and financing bottlenecks that are to blame for sluggish growth of indigenous start-ups. 

 "The government is committed to unlock the potential of small and medium-sized businesses through regulatory reforms and investment in supportive infrastructure like roads, electricity, water and storage facilities," said Karanja Kibicho, principal secretary for the Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government. 

 He said the government has created a one-stop shop to hasten registration of SMEs that contribute about 30 percent to Kenya's gross domestic product (GDP) and employ more than 16 million people. 

 The pioneering hub for SMEs will leverage on a robust local innovation ecosystem to stimulate growth of start-ups across key economic sectors like manufacturing and agriculture in Kenya. 

 Betty Maina, principal secretary for the State Department of Investment and Industry in the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Cooperatives, said the hub will help streamline operations of local start-ups and enhance their competitiveness in the regional and global markets. 

 "The hub will boost production capacity of SMEs while enabling them (to) add value on their products to make them competitive in the international supply chains," Maina said. She said the government has enacted policies and legislation to enhance the participation of SMEs in the implementation of the development blueprint that focuses on food security, affordable housing, universal healthcare and manufacturing. 

 Sachen Gudka, chairman of KAM, said the hub will support development of an inclusive, innovative and globally competitive SME sector in Kenya. "The hub will ensure the SMEs have institutional sustainability, understand regulatory environment, property rights and compliance," Gudka said.

He said SMEs with less than 20 million shillings in turnover will be eligible for membership in the hub, and benefit from innovative credit schemes, training and exposure to new markets. 

XINHUA