Kepsa, Mastercard Foundation to offer MSMEs interest-free loans to beat virus effects

Kepsa, Mastercard to offer women youths interest free loans to beat virus effects

In Summary

• This Fund is created through support from the Mastercard Foundation COVID-19 Recovery and Resilience Program

• KEPSA has stated that it will carry out the screening of the Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises to ensure they meet the criteria for eligibility to access the loans.

Kepsa chief executive Carole Kariuki at the private sector state of economy address in Nairobi on May 11 /ENOS TECHE
Kepsa chief executive Carole Kariuki at the private sector state of economy address in Nairobi on May 11 /ENOS TECHE

Kepsa and the Mastercard Foundation have launched a fund to provide loans to a maximum of 400 MSMEs whose businesses have been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The loan facility will be interest free and repayable in up to six months. 

The fund is created through support from the Mastercard Foundation COVID-19 Recovery and Resilience Programme.

It is targeting businesses that find it difficult to access financing from formal lending institutions such as banks and micro-financers.

Priority will be given to businesses run by women and young people.

Kepsa has stated that it will carry out the screening of the Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises to ensure they meet the criteria for eligibility to access the loans.

Loans will range in size with an expected average size of Sh1 million.

“These are bad times for everybody and a situation like this hits MSMEs the hardest. They already operate in a difficult environment, and research has shown that most MSMEs last two years, and you can see how such a situation would pan out for them," Kepsa CEO, Carole Karuga said on Thursday.

She explained the fund and the accompanying programme is intended to strengthen the MSMEs’ capacity, and Kepsa would provide technical support, such as helping the businesses adopt digital solutions.

In addition to screening the MSMEs, KEPSA will roll out a virtual SME Hub and create a business recovery hub to support the SMEs by offering business development services.

 
 
 

“COVID-19 has affected my business negatively in terms of work consistency and revenue and as a result fewer working hours for my virtual employees," Frida Mwangi, Founder of KaziRemote Limited said.

She added that as a business that relies 90 per cent on the outsourcing of transcription work, clients are cutting costs and my service offering is at the top of the list to be cut.

"Through business development services, the solution would be to remodel the business to offer skills that will be in demand now and beyond the pandemic," she continued.

KEPSA and the Mastercard Foundation intend for the programme to help maintain jobs and livelihoods and identify new business opportunities for women and young people.

The programme will also reduce Gender-Based Violence by enhancing the capacity of women-led and owned businesses to increase revenue and income.

It will also help to prioritize the health and safety of employees, communities, and healthcare workers and ensure business and supply chain continuity.

Mastercard Foundation Regional Head, Eastern and Southern Africa, Daniel Hailu said MSMEs are the backbone of the economy and they need support now more than ever.

"Through the Mastercard Foundation COVID-19 Recovery and Resilience Program, we are working with our partners to deliver tailored support to MSMEs that will sustain their activities and continue to provide opportunities for dignified work," he added.