The Co-operative Bank of Kenya has initiated a project to expose its business customers to the outside world in a bid to hone their experience through learning from the best practices.
‘Non-Financial Services that fall under the newly launched Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) project incorporates customer business trips, networking forums and customers training', Says Moses Gitau, the Head of Business Banking.
The bank recently coordinated and organized the first trip for business customers to China that helped expose 30 MSME business men and women to leading manufacturing destinations in the leading commercial Chinese City of Guangzhou.
Their itinerary included a two day visit to the annual Canton Fair (China Import and Export fair) that twice a year attracts over 24,000 of China’s best foreign trade companies. It was an opportunity for the entrepreneurs drawn from Nairobi, Naivasha, Bungoma, Nakuru, Meru, Makueni, Kisumu, Machakos, Ruiru and Juja (Kiambu) to sample an array of furniture, hardware, construction, textile electrical and electronics, building, industrial, leather, ornamental and other products at a glance.
The fair was a one stop shop to meet manufacturers, suppliers, shipping agents and others involved in goods that find their way into Kenya.
The bank’s director of Retail and Business banking Division Mr Arthur Muchangi said US$15 million (Ksh 15 billion) had been set aside to support Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (MSMEs) ready for willing borrowers who are customers of the bank.
“Our goal is to start as many Kenyans as possible on business and consequently help create employment,” said Mr Muchangi.
Kenya’s Deputy Head of Mission in China Mr Edward Kimani cautioned against taking short cuts in any business venture. He urged Kenyans to liaise with embassy officials if need be to ensure imports from China were of the right quality.
“There are plenty of opportunities here, but take careful steps as you do business,” he advised.
Mr Kimani who welcomed the business contingent on behalf of Ambassador Michael Kinyanjui advocated for joint ventures with Chinese industrialists to create products with the tag ‘made in Kenya’.
“It would be better to have Chinese products made in Kenya as that reduces cost and helps create the much sought after employment,” said Mr Kimani.
The Bank’s Head of Non-Financial services Mr Peter Ndumia said the Services have come at the right time to support running and growing of customer’s businesses.
The eight day maiden trip was facilitated by FCM travel solutions, a top travel management company. FCM Managing Director Mr Hamisi Hassan urged other institutions to emulate Cooperative bank in organizing exposure trips for their clientele.
Mr Hamisi said his company was well endowed to ensure institutions and their clientele got the best value from any destination courtesy of a network spanning over 90 countries worldwide.