About 14,000 small enterprises impacted by Covid -19 has received Sh400 million in interest-free loans from a trade lobby and Mastercard Foundation to help rebuild their ventures.

The Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI) chief executive Samuel Matonda said  the funds earmarked for youth and women-led small businesses were disbursed between last October to March.

Micro and Small Enterprises (MSMEs) in the informal sector mainly dealing in agricultures, retail, healthcare and manufacturing sectors constituted the larger share of beneficiaries of the credit facility rolled out last October.

“We have disbursed up to Sh400 million to youth and women-owned businesses in partnership with MasterCard Foundation since the roll out of the fund last year,” Mr Matonda told Enterprise in an interview last week.

“We currently have 14,000 beneficiaries and this number is growing as we continue to process applications. We also have 1,700 beneficiaries on their second and third loans.”

The loans are part of the Covid-19 Recovery and Resilience Programme. It is targeting small businesses that have borne the brunt of the negative effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, which caused the Kenyan economy to contract by 5.7 percent in the second quarter of 2020.

The one-year programme is being implemented by KNCCI through its chapters across the 47 counties with focus mainly on agriculture, retail, healthcare and manufacturing sectors.

Eligible MSMEs for the funds are those owned by youth aged between 18 and 35 years as well as women aged between 18 and 70 years who are members of KNCCI.

This may include members from Jua Kali sector, hawkers, retailers, fashion industry players and restaurants.

Mr Matonda yesterday said that that out of the Sh400 million so far disbursed in loans, over 100,000 has been refunded by beneficiaries.

“The program is a national program with beneficiaries from 46 counties, all counties except Samburu. In our assessment, repayment rate stands at 70 percent.