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TikToK announces Sh229.9 million investment for small businesses in Kenya & EA

Among the first beneficiaries of the TikTok Empower program in Kenya has received Sh69 million

Cabinet Secretary Ministry of Youth Affairs, Creative Economy, and Sports Ababu Namwamba, EGH (centre) addresses the crowd at the launch of #TikTokEmpower with Yunus Social Business. Flanking him is Ara Yoo Han, Global Social Impact Lead at ByteDance / TikTok (left) and Fortune Sibanda, Public Policy and Government Relations Director, TikTok (right).

TikTok has partnered with Yunus Social Business (YSB), a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting social businesses, to launch a $1.5 million (Sh229,950,000) program aimed at supporting social enterprises in Kenya and East Africa.

The initiative is designed to empower YSB's portfolio of over 60 social enterprises, ultimately benefitting approximately 3 million individuals.

Fortune Mgwili-Sibanda, Director of Government Relations & Public Policy at TikTok in Sub-Saharan Africa, expressed the platform's commitment to fostering entrepreneurial spirit and digital innovation in Africa during the launch on December 6.

"We have seen the profound impact and real-world opportunity that TikTok brings to small businesses around the world. The creative economy is a key priority for Kenya, and this is the time to amplify these opportunities as we celebrate Kenya@60," he stated.

The partnership will encompass three key elements. Firstly, TikTok will provide financial investments to selected social enterprises.

Secondly, the platform will offer training and mentorship in areas such as brand building, sales/e-commerce, and leveraging digital platforms for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs).

Lastly, TikTok will focus on communication and in-app education on entrepreneurship and SMBs.

In the inaugural year of the program, eight Kenyan social enterprises will be chosen to receive support.

BURN Manufacturing is among the first beneficiaries, receiving a substantial injection of $450,000 (Sh69 million).

The company specializes in producing clean cookstoves that are fuel-efficient, cook faster, and emit fewer fumes.

At the launch event, Cabinet Secretary of the Ministry of Youth Affairs, Creative Economy, and Sports Ababu Namwamba, EGH, handed over the $450,000 cheque.

He expressed gratitude to TikTok for its role in promoting entrepreneurship and supporting local businesses through creative marketing and advertising strategies, noting the platform's positive impact on social impact initiatives.

The decision to focus on Kenya and the East Africa region is grounded in the region's significant role in micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), constituting 98% of all business entities and employing 90% of the total workforce.

The region presents vast opportunities for socio-economic transformation, with 7.4 million micro and small enterprises employing 15 million Kenyans.

However, challenges such as limited access to credit, markets, and capacity building disproportionately affect rural, women, and socially disadvantaged groups.

TikTok emphasized that their commitment to impactful work extends beyond Kenya and East Africa, with the hope for similar launches in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The initiative's success will be monitored through robust impact measurement frameworks and reporting mechanisms, ensuring transparency and accountability.

Progress updates and the impact of programs will be communicated through public reports and stakeholder engagements, highlighting TikTok's dedication to openness and accountability.

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