The Kenya National Chamber of Commerce & Industry (KNCCI) in collaboration with the GIZ this morning held a three hour kick off meeting on the KNCCI-GIZ SME accelerator and COVID-19 recovery support project at Heron Portico Hotel.

The objective of the project is to ensure that survival of MSMEs due to the negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and create preconditions for a robust recovery in business, incomes, jobs and employment.

The project will support the 80 MSMEs from Kiambu and Nairobi counties through effective Business Development Services including coaching, mentorship and technical assistance to navigate through the covid -19 pandemic, facilitating linkages among the local MSMEs for sustained demand for goods and services. Facilitating liquidity and cash flow support by enabling MSMEs access to suitable financial products and services through various financial instruments.

The Chamber President Mr. Richard Ngatia kick started the meeting by appreciating GIZ for partnering with KNCCI through the project that will be beneficial to members drawn from the two counties. KNCCI, advocates for the creation of a favorable commercial, trade, and investment environment that supports enterprise expansion. Majority of KNCCI membership is constituted under small, micro-enterprises (SMEs) with 63% being women and youth entrepreneurs.

He concluded by giving KNCCI’s commitment to support long-term growth of SMES, through product development, quality improvement, ethical practices, packaging, branding, and market networking of SMEs to compete locally and internationally. Through the support of the programme, SMEs will be capacitated to thrive in the rapidly changing business environment, and keep evolving to stay clear of all the potential pitfalls that confront them in their progress from small enterprises to large corporations.

Head of GIZ Cluster Sustainable Economic Development Mr. Bernd Lakemeier in his remarks gave a general overview emphasizing on the main objective to support MSMEs recover from the covid -19 pandemic that dominated in 2020-2021. He stated the both Kenya and Germany have a common mission towards the vision 2030 which is the creation of jobs, 80% of jobs created are dominated by SMEs, yet they were most devastated by the pandemic as they did not have large capital reserves to cushion their business against such economic shocks. He stated that the MSMEs are likely to benefit from the program by gaining, skills, experience and knowledge.

The County Executive Officer, KNCCI Nairobi chapter Mr. James Odongo in his remarks appreciated all participants who took part in the kick off meeting and encouraged non- members to subscribe to KNCCI membership so as to benefit from the numerous benefits and opportunities.

The Chamber 2nd Vice President Ms. Fatma Elmaawy in her remarks encouraged the participants to take advantage of the numerous opportunities offered by KNCCI for instance the inbound and outbound trade mission that provide networking opportunities on a wider scope. She also insisted on the various capacity building programs that will equip them on access to finance and market linkages.

Component Head Programme for Promotion of Self Employment and Entrepreneurship Ms. Irene Omogi encouraged the youth who are the main beneficiaries of the program to get to know how to do business the right way in order to stay afloat and grow business.

The participants were taken through the training overview by Atemis Outsourcing Ltd and coaching overview by Capital Strategies Kenya Ltd.

The forum was concluded by networking amongst the participants .