Boost for MSMEs as Nakuru rolls out Enterprise Fund

Some of the stalls at Maasai market located along Kenyatta Avenue in Nakuru town. [File, Standard]

Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) got a major boost after Governor Susan Kihika's administration operationalised the Nakuru County Enterprise Fund.

The Fund is founded on Nakuru County Enterprise Act 2020 drafted by former County Finance Executive Peter Ketyenya and assented to by former Governor Lee Kinyanjui.

The Fund had not been operational for nearly three years until last week when Kihika appointed the board.

“Unveiling of the new board now sets in motion the beginning of cheap and accessible credit to small businesses in Nakuru county,” she said.

The board comprises six members from the business community who will advise the executive on provision of the cheap credit to local traders.

“The Fund has Sh25 million available for credit to traders. I urge small business people especially vegetable vendors, boda boda operators and farmers to take the cheap loans,” said the governor.

Kihika was optimistic that operationalisation of the fund will go a long way in creating jobs for residents.

“This shall not only create employment as we had promised as an administration but go a long way in eradicating poverty among our people,” she said.

Nakuru County Executive Committee Member (CECM) for Trade Stephen Kuria said that the kitty had been factored in the budget estimates for the next financial year.

“We now have a board that will ensure the target groups benefit from this Fund. We urge applicants to come forward and use the funds to expand their businesses,” said Kuria.

The CECM noted that the Fund will facilitate easy access to loans for businesses that are disadvantaged by stringent requirements set by banks.

Successful applicants shall be required to pay a fee that will be used to insure the loans.

Although the board shall run the Fund, the monetary transactions will be handled through the Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB), which has signed a pact with the county.

“We shall have measures tailored to assess the traders who apply for the funds. Those who could not get credit from banks now have a chance,” said Kuria.

According to the Act, applicants shall be strictly required to use the loans on businesses only, while flouting the regulation shall lead to disqualification.

The Act further requires the board to spend at least 25 per cent of the Fund on investment training, technical assistance on product and market development, technology acquisition, adoption and utilization.

In a bid to curb misuse, successful applicants shall be required to have undergone training.

The Fund comes years after the establishment of the Nakuru County Cooperatives Revolving Fund founded on an Act in 2019.

The fund targets over 530 cooperatives in the county that will access cheap credit, a majority of them engaging in agricultural production.

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