On 10th September 2020, KEPSA CEO, Ms. Carole Karuga participated in SBS/NCBA Virtual SME Conference, which was organized by Strathmore University Business School in partnership with NCBA Bank. The Conference showcased industry leaders talk about issues that affect business in light of the ‘new normal’, panels geared towards supporting SMEs to survive and thrive and talks around Policy implications, market sustainability and digital economy/transformation.
In his introductory remarks, the Executive Dean at Strathmore University Business School, Dr. George Njenga acknowledged the significance of the SME businesses in the economy adding that there was a need to have a one-stop-shop for all licenses. Dr. Njenga also said that Covid-19 was a problem that has highlighted all the other problems in the sector, noting the need to relook on how SMEs can be strengthened to get support, by rectifying the gaps that were already pre-existing in the businesses.
NCBA Bank Group Managing Director, Mr. John Gachora said that it was good to see factories being repurposed to supply Personal protective equipment (PPEs), hotels being refitted to become isolation centres and people turning their vehicles to roving vegetable markets. “The survival and growth of SMEs is of paramount importance to the country,” He added.
Speaking on behalf of the Cabinet Secretary in Ministry of Industrialization, the Chief Administrative Secretary, Hon. Lawrence Karanja said that the government is keen on developing the SME sector and that it has established a credit guarantee scheme to support SMEs. Hon. Karanja also urged SMEs to look at the future of the ‘new normal’ beyond the Covid-19 pandemic and warm up to new roads of opportunities and business models. “The government gazetted a list of 300 goods that must be bought locally by all government agencies to create an opportunity for SMEs to do business with the government.” Added Hon. Karanja.
In a key panel discussion on policy implications, together with Mr. Kwame Owino from Institute of Economic Affairs and the Co-Founder of Ushahidi, Ms. Juliana Rotich, the KEPSA CEO said that KEPSA had developed an Economic Management Framework for Covid-19 Response that focuses on protecting SMEs by ensuring business and supply chain continuity. “We have partnered with Educate Global Rapid Technical Assistance Response Team to support business in Food, Health and Education sectors through financial restructuring, strategy review and addressing critical operational issues they are facing due to Covid-19,” She remarked.
The second part of the virtual conference is scheduled for 17th September 2020.