Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) were presented with a golden opportunity to secure funding and technical assistance, as the government officially opened the second round of applications for the KIEP 250+ project.
Elevate your business with KIEP 250+ support
Government invites SMEs to apply for KIEP 250+ technical assistance to improve their productivity, strengthen innovation and enhance competitiveness
Successful applicants will gain access to performance-based grant funding, a pivotal aid for business expansion, improved managerial and technical skills, and harnessing cutting-edge technology.
Principal Secretary of the State Department for Industry, Dr Juma Mukhwana, emphasised the government's commitment to inclusivity, ensuring that SMEs from all corners of the nation, including at least 20 percent women-owned businesses, can benefit from KIEP 250+.
He noted, "The second application window for eligible SMEs under KIEP 250+ is now open. This initiative aims to bolster world-class competitive SMEs, thus elevating Kenya's manufacturing sector and entrepreneurial ecosystem."
Part of the Sh5 billion ($50 million) Kenya Industry and Entrepreneurship Project (KIEP), in collaboration with the World Bank, KIEP 250+ offers performance-based grant funding alongside technical assistance for SMEs.
This empowers them to enhance and maximise their potential by identifying sustainable growth pathways and accessing expertise from proficient business development service providers.
Participation criteria require SMEs to be legally registered in Kenya, operational for a minimum of two years, with an annual turnover ranging from Sh50 million to Sh1 billion.
Additionally, SMEs must be nominated by a lead firm, financial institution, or business association and have a dedicated management team committed to a performance improvement plan.
KIEP 250+ strongly encourages applications from SMEs that prioritise opportunities for persons living with disabilities (PLWD), youth, and women-led enterprises.
Maarten Susan, the leader of the KIEP 250+ team, affirmed the project's significance, saying, "Kenya's SME sector has encountered challenges such as low productivity, limited innovation, and gaps in connections between traditional industries and SMEs.
"KIEP 250+ aims to tackle these obstacles by channeling working capital, technology, and expertise to cultivate a sustainable innovation ecosystem."
Progress of SMEs participating
Participating SMEs will undergo a multi-step process, beginning with identifying areas for improvement and crafting performance enhancement plans.
They will then select business development service providers to address improvement projects covered by KIEP 250+ financial support.
This entire journey spans around 15 to 18 months, culminating in comprehensive technical assistance.
The inaugural beneficiaries (Cohort 1), largely from the agriculture sector, underwent thorough diagnostic assessments to identify their business gaps, paving the way for tailored performance improvement plans.
The second call endeavours to onboard a more diversified group of SMEs, with a notable focus on sectors prioritized under the government's Bottom-up Economic Transformation Agenda (BETA) - manufacturing, agriculture, housing and settlement, healthcare, digital superhighway, and the creative economy.
Over the projected four-year duration, KIEP 250+ aims to host five rounds of SME applications, with a goal of supporting a minimum of 250 SMEs.
Launched in November 2020, KIEP 250+ stands as a transformative initiative, geared towards boosting productivity, fostering innovation, establishing market connections, and amplifying capacity among SMEs in pivotal sectors.
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