The Kenya national Chamber of Commerce & Industry (KNCCI) in collaboration with the Nation Media Group (NMG), Ministry of Industrialization, Trade & Enterprise Development and the Micro & Small Enterprises Authority (MSEA) have jointly organized The 3rd Edition of the SMEs Conference & Expo that has kicked off this morning at the KICC grounds.

The three- day exhibition and conference under the theme ‘Making the SME sector competitive amid Covid-19, A Multi-stakeholder’s approach’ will provide the SMEs in attendance with tenets of business intelligence.

The KNCCI Chief Operating Officer Mr. Patrick Nyangweso was the curtain raiser of the event that was aired live on NTV. In his remarks he noted that SMEs are the key drivers for inclusive economic growth, regional development, employment generation and poverty reduction. He explained KNCCI’s role in establishing a framework to promote high potential, promising SMEs and improve the business environment.

Mr. Nyangweso highlighted on different programs that KNCCI has taken up to support SMEs; The Chamber has partnered with Equity Bank Kenya to train SMEs on financial literacy and market access, KNCCI has also had engagements with Kenya Bankers Association to ensure that all the SMEs across all the counties are trained on different aspects of setting up their businesses and ensuring they thrive.

Through the Kenya SME acceleration support program, KNCCI have partnered with World Bank to support access to finance to SMEs through guarantee schemes addressing market failures, focusing on upgrading SMEs to make them sustainable through technological additions. The annual SMEs Conference is a platform for SMEs to showcase their products and services for business growth.

The Chamber 1st Vice President Dr. Erick Rutto represented the organization in a panel discussion under the topic “Enhancing SME resilience towards business recovery”. Dr. Rutto gave an insight on the data of SMEs in Kenya indicating that there are 7.41 million MSMEs in Kenya and out of them only 1.56 million are licensed to operate. He urged the government through The Ministry of Industrialization, Trade & Enterprise Development to develop strategies that will ease the licensing process for SMEs and increase the uptake.

Covid-19 disrupted many businesses and it was a learning point on the importance of digitizing businesses. It is commendable to see SMEs using social media is a digital marketing tool, social media has grown to be one of the key tools of online communication between businesses and their clients or potential clients. KNCCI in partnership with the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) launched the Centre of Entrepreneurship (CoE) hub in Nairobi that is looking forward to digitizing 5,000 businesses across 12 countries in the region in the next three years.

The Chamber 1st Vice President urged the government to look into the cost of compliance and multiple licensing for SMEs and adopt the ease of doing business toolkit to have a conducive environment for business growth for the SMEs.

Financial institutions should increase their uptake in lending to SMEs opposed to lending government, lending to SMEs will help in boosting the country’s economy.

He concluded by asking the SMEs to explore any developing partnerships in various industry to diversify on business needs.

The Event was attended by Mr. David Osiany , the CAS Ministry of Industrialization Trade & Enterprise Development who was the Chief Guest, Mr. Richard Muteti, CEO The Kenya National Federation of  Jua Kali Associations, Mr. Stephen Gitagama  NMG  Group Chief Executive Officer among others.

KNCCI appreciates all the exhibitors, participants for being part of the 3rd Edition of the SMEs Conference and Expo 2022.