Thursday, July 25, 2024

Absa, ITC, SheTrades partner to connect women entrepreneurs to UK, regional buyers

Absa Bank Kenya and the International Trade Centre (ITC) have organized a trade mission to Nairobi, Kenya, taking place on the sidelines of the Absa InspireMe Conference.

The Kenya trade mission aims to build new business linkages and expand economic opportunities for women-led businesses from across the continent and the United Kingdom (UK). This event is part of the ITC SheTrades Commonwealth+ Programme, which is funded by UK International Development.

In collaboration with Absa Bank Kenya, the host institution of the SheTrades Kenya Hub, ITC is supporting 10 UK-based buyers and three chamber of commerce representatives, 17 representatives from large corporations in Africa, and 65 women entrepreneurs from the delegations of SheTrades Hubs in Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Nigeria, Rwanda, the Gambia, and South Africa, to attend the Absa InspireMe Conference.

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Today, while headlining the event, Cabinet Secretary for Investments, Trade & Industry, Hon. Rebecca Miano, shared her ministry’s ambition to scale investments in the country, focusing on manufacturing and highlighting the crucial role of women in achieving this goal.

She commended Absa Bank Kenya for its efforts in unlocking opportunities for women-led enterprises by facilitating access to information, mentorship, networking opportunities, markets, and sustainable finance. Hon. Miano also appreciated Absa for availing credit across various value chains with a commitment of Kes. 100 billion in the next three years.

The hybrid Absa InspireMe Conference also featured a welcome message yesterday from Harriet Chiggai, the President’s Adviser on Human Rights, and Mr. Abdi Mohamed, Managing Director, and CEO of Absa Bank Kenya.

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The welcome event also featured several panel sessions focused on key topics across women’s entrepreneurial and export development: accessing finance, navigating the digital marketplace, and leveraging the African Continental Free Trade Area.

The UK Regional Trade Advisor for East Africa, Mr. Jamal Hussain delivered a presentation on export opportunities available through the UK’s Developing Countries Trading Scheme and Economic Partnership Agreements.

Transforming lives: How Absa InspireMe Conference will benefit women entrepreneurs

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Concurrent to the Absa InspireMe Conference and as part of the trade mission, select women-led businesses from the agrifood, textiles and apparel, handicrafts, and accessories sector will participate in a series of one-to-one business meetings with potential buyers from the UK delegation and African corporations on the second day of the event.

Representatives from participating SheTrades Hubs will also discuss potential collaboration with the three participating UK delegates from the Greater Birmingham Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Chamber International, and West and North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The final day includes sector-specific field visits to Kenyan companies in the relevant sectors for conference participants and one-to-one company sites for the African and UK buyers to further explore business opportunities with Kenyan women-led businesses.

Here are some highlight remarks to the women in business during the InspireMe conference:

“We are delighted to host the Absa InspireMe Conference 2024. This trade mission presents a unique opportunity to build strong relationships within this exciting market, the region, and the UK. At Absa, we are committed to facilitating access and providing valuable insights for our customers, both new and existing, across the globe. I am excited to witness the connections and collaborations that will emerge over the coming days,” said Abdi Mohamed, Absa Bank Kenya, Managing Director.

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“I am grateful for ITC; in bringing together businesses from seven different countries in Africa, this trade mission is a great opportunity for UK and African companies to expand their business horizons together. I with other delegates look forward to meeting with women entrepreneurs from across the continent and securing long-term business,” remarked Dr. Nasir Awan, President of the Greater Birmingham Chamber of Commerce, and Industry.

“This is a rare opportunity to have seven countries in one location, I am sure this will be the start of strengthening relations between the Greater Birmingham Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the participating SheTrades Hubs host institutions.”

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“Be great at what you do, be a beacon in your field, be so good that people around you cannot do without your participation. Be so good that people want to be better around you. In business, these principles know no gender,” concluded CS Hon. Rebecca Miano as she shared her rich nuggets on her career and inspirational life journey with the delegates at the InspireMe Conference.

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