Thursday, July 25, 2024

Here is how to access capital of up to Sh. 3 million for your business

With the challenging economic conditions persisting in the nation over recent years, businesses have consistently faced tough circumstances. To mitigate this, the Stanbic Kenya Foundation and USADF have been partnering to provide – funding to Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), cooperatives, and producer groups in Kenya through a competitive process.

The- qualifying MSMEs can receive a maximum of US $25,000 to be applied towards working capital needs as well as asset acquisition thereby, facilitating access to affordable finance markets, and exposure to digital technologies. We spoke to Pauline Mbayah, Head of the Stanbic Kenya Foundation, about the financing and what entrepreneurs can do to access this grant.

Tell us more about the Stanbic Kenya Foundation (SKF) and the United States African Development Foundation (USADF) partnership.

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At Stanbic, we believe that Kenya is our home and we drive her growth.  This is amplified in our work under our Social Economic and Environmental framework, which emphasizes Economic Growth, Job Creation, and Financial Inclusion as key pillars.  Through the Stanbic Kenya Foundation, Stanbic Bank Kenya fosters Kenya’s economic growth through these endeavors.

The US African Development Foundation (USADF) is an autonomous agency of the U.S. government, established by Congress to invest in grassroots enterprises and social entrepreneurs across Africa directly.  USADF’s investments are geared towards elevating incomes, revenues, and job opportunities by advocating self-reliance and market-driven approaches to alleviate poverty.

In 2021, the Stanbic Kenya Foundation and USADF joined forces in a partnership to provide financing and technical support to Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), cooperatives, and producer groups in Kenya. The winning MSMEs can receive a maximum of US $25,000, facilitating access to affordable finance, markets, and exposure to digital technologies.

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Who is eligible for this grant and what is the deadline for the call of applications?

Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) that are 100% African-owned and managed, officially registered in Kenya, and have operated with managerial and financial controls for a minimum of two years, with a banking track record of at least 12 months, will be considered. Additionally, applicants must have previously sought commercial finance, and experienced rejection due to deficiencies in internal systems and capabilities.

What factors should prospective grantees consider before applying to improve their chances of selection, and when is the application deadline?

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  • Ensure that you complete the standard USADF/SKF application form accurately. Clearly outline a well-defined problem that can be addressed with the funding, rendering your enterprise investment ready.
  • Develop a plan for growth post-USADF/SKF grant, including a robust investment strategy.
  • Commit to contributing at least 50% of the total cost required to tackle the identified issue. Demonstrate a clearly defined market opportunity for revenue growth that can elevate incomes.

The successful MSMEs will, agree to adhere to minimum funds usage, routine monitoring, reporting, full disclosure requirements applicable to the grant. and, be prepared to share details and evidence regarding why your past applications for commercial investment were declined.

All applications MUST be submitted electronically to [email protected] no later than midnight on June 23rd, 2024.

What was the inspiration behind focusing on Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs)?

As of the last MSME survey done by KNBS, there were 7.4M MSMEs in Kenya which engaged about 14.9 million persons. Out of this, 6.3 million people were employed in licensed MSMEs. These enterprises contribute significantly, accounting for approximately 40 percent of the GDP.

The best source of finance for your business? Your customer

Through collaborative efforts from the Stanbic Kenya Foundation and the US African Development Foundation (USADF), Kenyan MSMEs stand poised to enhance productivity, profitability, and global competitiveness. This support equips them to foster employment opportunities, generate income, and drive prosperity within communities nationwide.

Against this backdrop, do you feel that the impact of this intervention has started being felt in businesses and the lives of the people who have benefitted?

Our dedication is to empower locally owned businesses in Kenya, starting from the grassroots and guiding them towards greater heights. Through our hands-on involvement, we intimately grasp their challenges and recognize their capacity to overcome obstacles and fulfill their aspirations.

The transformative impact of this approach has been profound. For instance, in the first cohort, we had Organic Fields, a company based in Ruiru, Kiambu County, which generates its revenue from the sale of organic fertilizers made from market waste and received a USD 50,000 grant in December 2021, which enabled the company to acquire new machinery.

This enabled them to increase processing capacity from 80 bags of fertilizer a day, to 500 bags of fertilizer. The company has also gone above and beyond to train and support over 30,000 farmers across 6 countries on the benefits and use of organic fertilizer. This is the impact we are talking about, and we have many more impactful stories we are telling in our reports and on our Social Media pages.

(The deadline to submit your application for business capital closes on Sunday 23rd June)

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