BIZNA Group has today launched the inaugural BIZNA SME Awards. The launching of the awards follows the success of the inaugural Young Entrepreneurs Awards (YEA Awards) which Bizna Group held in 2018.
The newly-launched BIZNA SME Awards have been tailor-made to celebrate the hard work of entrepreneurs and businesses in Kenya’s small and medium business sector. “YEA Awards enjoyed tremendous support from the public, with requests for a more comprehensive platform that not only celebrates entrepreneurs but also recognizes businesses in the SME sector,” said Tonnie Mello, the chief executive officer of BIZNA Group.
The launching of the awards in Nairobi also opened the nomination phase. The nomination phase will run from February 15 to March 30, 2019 when the judging and shortlisting phase will begin. The shortlisted nominees will be announced on April 30, 2019. Public voting will take place from May 1 to May 21. The winners will be crowned at a gala event in Nairobi on May 24, 2019.
“SMEs have proved to be the backbone of the economy through their provision of job opportunities, empowerment, and collective national development,” said Mr. Mello during the launch. He also noted that despite small and medium enterprises occupying a critical space in Kenya’s economic development, most of them have remained largely unrecognized. “The BIZNA SME Awards will be seeking to not only recognize these small businesses, but also provide markets, business, and networking solutions that can further accelerate their growth,” he said.
The BIZNA SME Awards also comes as a major boost for an economic sector that often records a higher rate of failure than success. “One of the major hurdles small and medium businesses face is sustainability. Most SMEs have difficulties breaking even and surviving the first 1,000 days. This is on top of maintaining fluent operating capital and income streams,” said Mr. Mello.
In Kenya, the SME sector is estimated to contribute about 3 per cent of the overall Gross Domestic Product (GDP). According to the Central Bank of Kenya’s National Economic Survey report, the SME sector also constitutes 98 per cent of all businesses in the country, and contributes about 30 per cent of annual jobs.
The awards will recognize businesses in 20 different categories that include agribusiness, real estate, fashion, transport and logistics, retail and hospitality.
Participating businesses will need to be formally and legally registered. They will also need to have been in operation over the last three years. Small and medium business owners can nominate themselves via https://smeawards.co.ke/nomination/nominate/.