SUSTAINABILITY

KCB Biashara Club keeps businesses afloat during pandemic

The Club provides an avenue to help SMEs grow by offering business solutions and advisory services.

In Summary
  • Data collected between July 1 and August 21, in the SME impact survey, show some 37 per cent of SMEs laid-off staff due to a reduction in business operations.
  • Caroline Makori, owner Gerrar Supplies says her business wasn’t spared from the effects of the pandemic but KCB Biashara Club helped her business stay afloat.
Caroline Makori,Owner Gerrar Supplies at her store in Karen during an interview with the Star on November 10th 2020
Caroline Makori,Owner Gerrar Supplies at her store in Karen during an interview with the Star on November 10th 2020
Image: VICTOR IMBOTO

Small businesses in Kenya have been hard hit by the Covid-19 pandemic which has affected all sectors of the economy.

Bussinesses have had to operate with reduced cash flows, low profit margins with most being forced to layoffs staff to remain afloat.

A survey by the United Nations Capital Development Fund and the International Chamber of Commerce ICC shows that businesses in textile and craft, personal care and energy sectors were affected more in terms of business operations.

This is compared to finance, professional and technology services.

Access to customers and suppliers are reported as major challenges.

Data collected between July 1 and August 21, in the SME impact survey, show some 37 per cent of SMEs have already laid-off staff due to a reduction in business operations.

Caroline Makori, owner Gerrar Supplies which deals in engineering materials  says her business wasn’t spared from the effects of the pandemic, in an interview with the Star.

She had to lay off some staff and majority of her clients have still not been able to pay her to date for orders during the period.

Currently her business has only five employees as she scaled down to a smaller office for her business operations.

However, for Caroline, the burden wasn’t that major as she is a member of the KCB Biashara Club which she says really came through for her during the pandemic.

“I thank God for Biashara Club as I was able to sustain my business during this  period. I have access to unsecured loans of up to Sh5million which I took to be able to keep running my business,” said Caroline.

Caroline who started her business in 2015 joined Biashara Club in 2017 .

Her business which deals with generators, water pumps and dolly wheels plus service and repair requires a lot of capital which was hard to access during the pandemic.

“When I started my business it was for my passion in engineering. I did not know how to run a business but trainings by Biashara Club were really helpful for my business,” she said.

When she started she didn’t have many clients but the networking meetings in and out of the country organized by the Club had her scoring big clients such as Kenya Airways, Bluebird Aviation, various non-governmental organizations among others.

Her business has been able to level up due to the Club and even when Covid-19 hit and some clients were not able to service their orders, Caroline has been able to access loans to pay for her orders for goods which she imports from China and the UK.

“I would like to urge all people who own small businesses to join Biashara club for all its benefits and they wont regret,”she says.

KCB Biashara Club provides an avenue to help SMEs grow by offering business solutions and advisory services and is open to all KCB business account holders .

The Club also partners with other organizations and use their expertise to strengthen Micro, Small and Medium businesses in Kenya.