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Monday, December 6, 2021

Garissa SMEs to get free training, funding to boost business

By The Frontier Post Reporter

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About 3,000 small and medium businesses in Garissa will get cash and training in a new initiative to boost trade, courtesy of the African Entrepreneur Collective -Kenya and MasterCard Foundation who have come onboard to sponsor the exercise.

Sara Leedom, the Foundation chief operating officer said the company aims to help over 9,000 entrepreneurs and businesses across the country by the end of 2022. She spoke in Garissa on Wednesday.

“We are currently monitoring and supporting 254 SMEs in Garissa and are targeting to support 3,000 businesses over the next two years. The businesses will benefit from AEC Kenya’s advisory services and low-cost investments,” Leedom said.

She said that the expansion to Garissa was facilitated by the MasterCard Foundation’s Covid-19 Recovery Programme.

The programme aims at supporting businesses to relaunch or rebuild after disruption by the pandemic.

MasterCard Foundation executive Daniel Hailu said they are proud to support partners like AEC Kenya because of their innovative approaches to creating durable solutions for local businesses operating in refugee-hosting communities.

“AEC Kenya’s approach to providing affordable financing to those who are traditionally excluded from financial services stimulates further economic development and inclusion,” Hailu said.

He urged businesses to participate in the programme, which will stimulate larger economic growth within the community, create jobs, and encourage more private sector development.

AEC Kenya training manager David Karuranga said that they have to first assess the financial situation of the businesses before lending or granting more money.

“A business must be at least six months old so that we assess the financial flows. This way, we will be able to know exactly what the entrepreneur needs,” Karuranga said.

Patricia Mutua, a fruit vendor in Garissa Township who has registered for the programme, said Covid-19 had negatively affected her business.

She is banking on the programme for more skills and financial assistance to boost her business.

“We sell fruits mostly to travellers. When lockdowns were imposed due to Covid-19, my business was hurt. I expect that at the end of my training, I will be able to overcome the financial challenges I am facing,” Mutua said.

She urged entrepreneurs in Garissa to come forward and register for free training and financial assistance that will help their businesses recover.

AEC Kenya has been working with entrepreneurs in Turkana and Mombasa counties.

It has supported over 1,400 investments, including one-time cash grants for Covid-19 recovery, and boasts of 100 per cent investment repayment rate.

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