Micro and Small Enterprises in Kenya support the country in creating jobs and growing the economy. But many of these entrepreneurs, you are probably one, find it difficult to come across support for their own growth.
The kind of support they seek goes beyond funding. It’s a good thing, then, that we have compiled a list of the kinds of support available to the Kenyan entrepreneur and examples of places to receive it. You can go for them yourself and even share with other entrepreneurs in Kenya (just like that, you’ll help others without seeking elective office):
Incubators are a great way for entrepreneurs in Kenya to access work-space, to be mentored and be in position to know about opportunities. You would also be able to share knowledge and experience with your fellow entrepreneurs. Examples of incubators include:
Mettā Nairobi – we interviewed Mettā Nairobi’s head of Operations and Community, Esther Mwikali. You can read it here
A complaint is that most of these hubs for entrepreneurs focus solely on tech. The model is great for techies. Don’t fret, there’s something for you on this list.
There is yet another way to hang out with people like you besides shared work-spaces. You can sign up and join one of the many professional network groups that cater for all kinds of specialties. They will give you information about opportunities, provide avenue for linkages and collaborations plus, they lobby for entrepreneurs in your field. We have a list here on some women entrepreneurs associations. We also have articles by the honchos (Flora Mutahi and Phyllis Wakiaga) of the Kenya Association of Manufactures. If you are in value addition, you may join them.
Events for Entrepreneurs
Yet another way for the Kenyan entrepreneur to meet others like herself or himself is to sign up for entrepreneur-specific events. Really, don’t shy away. Some of the events include contests, seminars and fellowships. They leave you better. We share these kinds of events practically every day – this is our opportunities page.
One smart way to leave yourself better is learn more in your field of interest or cover your knowledge-gaps. School is expensive but ignorance can bring down your business. You should have a grasp on the key basics of entrepreneurship. You know; technical skills, bookkeeping, marketing and management. You can either take advantage of free resources like this or go the formal route and get your certificate, diploma or the undergrad and postgrad degrees.
One way the Kenyan entrepreneur shoots herself or himself on the foot is by not being ready when opportunities present themselves. Maybe you don’t have enough working capital to take up a huge contract or you don’t have the labor or skills to do a job that could have handed you lots of cash. Have you ever been in one such situation? You can find organizations (Government and Non-Government) that help individuals develop themselves. One example is YALI East Africa who gather young Africans for a cool fellowship every year.
You’ve done research for your business plan and you must never stop doing it. Investing in some kind of research scheme is expensive for most Kenyan SMEs. Nonetheless, they can enjoy the lots of insights gathered by organizations like FSD Kenya or the Kenyan Bureau of Statistics. For more specific data, you can pay research startups to present you with data. Your decision-making will become better.
Lack of a budget for high-skill employees should not stop your business from enjoying the fruits of specialty skills. Think of it as outsourcing (if you can’t be a spin doctor how will you woo investors?). Consultation can help your business become much more efficient or realize the gains of better practice. This is especially true for agriculture, a sector Kenyan women dominate. For the Kenyan entrepreneur there are avenues like biz4afrika and uwakili, who help you see better.
Funding is a big deal and there are many different sources competing to give your business money. Commercial banks and Saccos are not the only players in the market. There isAngel investing, Venture Capital, Grants and MicroFinance Institutions. Thing here is that you must show the other party your value proposition. I know, its hard (its probably the hardest thing in life) but you’re a winner.