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Private sector meet to bridge gap between startups and incumbents

By Graham Kajilwa | February 10th 2016

Poor infrastructure, lack of information and inadequate finance are said to be the contributing factors to the bulging gap between large corporates and micro businesses in the country.

Considering corporates constitute just 10 per cent with the Small Micro and Enterprises (SMEs) taking up to 90- per cent of business, the billions corporates control have made it difficult for SMEs to grow.

In addition because of their huge tax contribution, the government tends to focus a lot on them than in SMEs.

To bridge this gap and increase focus attention, Kenya Private Sector Alliance (Kepsa) and other partners yesterday launched an international expo for business match making between the corporates and SMEs to scale up their growth.

“SMEs provide 45 per cent of the country’s employment, 50 per cent of work force and Sh1.4 trillion to Gross Domestic Product (GDP). If we are to make a strong impact in economic growth, then SMEs have to be the priority,” said Kepsa Director Patricia Ithua during the launch.

Ithau said the expo will give SMEs an opportunity to learn how to deal with the said challenges from the big corporates which at one point were small businesses: “The gap is too wide yet SMEs seem to be the largest contributors to development. We need to scale them up (SMEs) to corporates and finally multinationals.”

The expo dubbed SME Fest 2016 is set to take place from April 7-9. The Event’s Director Dorcas Muthoni noted that the expo will be different as it will encompass business to business trade contrary to others than were focused on product promotion.

“Monetary constraint seems to be the major challenge yet there are many other ways to finance business like partnering with big corporates, accessing credit or even selling part of the business. The best customers for these businesses are other businesses,” said Muthoni.

Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry boss Matanda Wabuyele who leads 20,000 businesses(75 per cent being SMEs)  said the country’s vision is to have SMEs contribute 50 per cent of GDP by 2020 by promoting intra Africa trade to have them access regional markets.

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