On 3rd December, 2019, the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry hosted its inaugural Kenya Business Awards- first ever in the Country which awarded over forty outstanding small and medium enterprises at the Kenyatta International Convention Center.

The awards were designed to target businesses that have performed well in various areas including: quality customer care, positive social impact to the community and excellent human resource for companies that have taken deliberate steps to remove barriers thus improve the working experience. Further, the awards also recognized companies which have put in place innovative approaches in delivering services to their clients and those that have transformed the enterprise and community they operate in including implementation of e-commerce, use of online marketing and social media adoption.

The awards also evaluated large corporates and their relations with small and medium enterprises including innovative products targeting this segment. Other categories included businesses run by youth and women and integration with the government vision including the Big 4 Agenda.

Speaking during the awards ceremony Cabinet Secretary in the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Cooperatives Peter Munya said the government said the government had taken deliberate steps to improve the business climate including ensuring all SMEs are paid their pending bills by national and county governments. Munya added that his ministry had formed a technical committee with the Chamber to discuss problems facing businesses and ensure that all MoUs signed with international partners are actualized to deliver their intended benefits to the economy,” said CS Munya.

Speaking at the same occasion Chamber President Richard Ngatia said the Kenya Business Awards were a culmination of various regional and county events that have been held in the county level including Mombasa, Mombasa, Vihiga, Laikipia and Kakamega. He added that the Chamber had designed the awards in line with the government focus areas including the Big 4 Agenda and the KNCCIs main advocacy areas including delayed payments, multiple licenses by county government and access to credit.

“To support and recognize the sector contribution, the chamber together with other strategic partners initiated the Kenya Business Awards programme to recognize SMEs and entrepreneurs for their exceptional contributions. We believe the awards it shall serve to: enhance the competitiveness and productivity of the SME sector and raise the reputation of the winners locally and internationally; enable SMEs to be looked upon as professional enterprises and

thus attract a skilled and talented pool of employees while the winners will act as role and business models for potential and existing entrepreneurs,” said Chamber President Richard Ngatia.

Lead judge at the event SME advisor in the Office of the President Florence Kimaita termed the awards as reflecting the national outlook of Kenyan businesses and called for more entrepreneurs to submit the nominations in 2020.