- SSC will offer acceleration programmes that will include technical support around strategy, operations, production capabilities and quality assurance.
- The programme targets at least 60 SMEs by the end of this year.
Diverse suppliers and minority-owned businesses in the country are set to benefit from annual funding worth Sh200 million from the global supplier Unilever in partnership with SME Support Centre.
The parties say it is a move likely to be a gateway for people to grow their own businesses and make a wider economic contribution.
Dubbed ‘Emerge Supplier Acceleration Programme’, it seeks to provide access to business skills development, capacity building and funding to boost Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) sector participation in the economy.
SSC will offer acceleration programmes that will include technical support around strategy, operations, production capabilities and quality assurance as well as providing linkages to various financial service providers.
This will enable the small businesses to supply products and services, not only to Unilever but also other similar manufacturing multi-nationals to widen their customer bases and increase their revenue streams.
Speaking during the launch of the campaign in Nairobi, Unilever Kenya managing director Luck Ochieng said the strategic initiative will seek to offset the barriers faced by most SMEs and will majorly target businesses owned by women and persons with disabilities.
“Barriers such as gender or prejudice, gender inequity, lack of access to training and skills and financial exclusion hamper entrepreneurship and business growth. We want to actively make our supply chain more diverse by reaching out to people and groups that are usually under-represented with an aim of making them competitive and market-ready,” Ochieng said.
“At the same time, we are unlocking innovation, agility and opportunity within our suppliers' businesses, and in ours.”
SMEs are notably a critical part of the country’s economy. According to data from the National Treasury, they constitute 98 per cent of all the businesses in Kenya and offer about 30 per cent of job creation opportunities.
They further contribute up to three per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
On her part, therefore, SSC chief executive officer Linda Onyango said they are committed to helping the SMEs build long-term competitiveness and contribute to the overall GDP, in recognition of the need to be proactive in ensuring present and future success.
“We are deeply passionate about developing businesses. Through the emerging supplier acceleration programme, we aim at leveraging respective strengths and expertise from both partners to deliver relevant insights for growth,” Onyango said.
The programme targets at least 60 SMEs by the end of this year.