Funding is the top worry for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the next three to six months, according to a survey done in March and April.

The mobile-based survey sought to establish the impact of Covid-19 among Kenyan SMEs on business turnover, March and April performance, and effects and challenges of the crisis.

Other parameters were funding and non-funding needs, government initiatives impact, priority of SME staff and business performance.

On funding, majority (51 per cent) of the respondents in the Wylde Kenyan SME Sector Performance Report 2020 expected negative change in business financing against 26 per cent who expect positive change, while 18 per cent see no change and 5 per cent are not sure.

“There is uncertainty going forward and SMEs are looking forward to, for instance, quick operationalisation of government initiatives like the recently launched Credit Guarantee Fund, special economic stimulus package for hard-hit sectors like tourism, hospitality, travel and related sectors,” said Wylde International Chief Executive Joram Mwinamo.

Survival strategies

The survey was carried out by Wylde and two other research firms, SNDBX Village Experts and Amethyst Consulting.

For business support organisations, the survey recommends funding programmes to be around capacity building on survival strategies, cost management and innovations.

“External funding was seen as most important at 80 per cent,” added Mwinamo.

The top three non-funding needs were review of business strategies such as networking and new ventures at 23 per cent, business development and management (17 per cent) and tax relief or waivers (11 per cent).

Majority of the businesses said they performed poorly in the two months, with 43 per cent somewhat worse, significantly worse at 25 per cent and 20 per cent about the same in March.

“The effects of the crisis on the SME owner were negativity and stress (49 per cent), adaptation to the situation (22 per cent) and uncertainty in future business at 14 per cent,” said Mwinamo.

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