Small and Medium enterprise entrepreneurs in Garissa have every reason to smile after African Entrepreneur Collective (AEC) Kenya in partnership with Mastercard Foundation announced training and financial assistance for their businesses.
So far, 254 businesses have already registered for financial and bookkeeping training aimed at improving their business skills and development.
Speaking in Garissa, AEC’s Chief Operating Officer Sara Leedom said the company is aiming to help over 9000 entrepreneurs and businesses across the country by the end of 2022.
“Currently in Garissa, we are monitoring and supporting 254 SMEs. We are targeting to support 3,000 businesses over the next two years. They will benefit from AEC Kenya’s advisory services and low-cost investments,” Leedom said
“Businesses participating in this new programme will stimulate larger economic growth within the community, create jobs, and encourage more private sector development,” she added
Leedom noted that expansion to Garissa had been made possible through the Mastercard Foundation’s Covid-19 recovery programme, which supports businesses to relaunch or rebuild after being negatively impacted by the pandemic.
“We are proud to support partners like AEC because of their innovative approaches to creating durable solutions for local businesses operating in refugee-hosting communities,” Daniel Hailu regional head Eastern and Southern Africa at the Mastercard Foundation.
“AEC Kenya’s approach to providing affordable financing to those who are traditionally excluded from financial services is stimulating further economic development and inclusion,” he added
AEC’s training manager David Karuranga however said that they have to first assess the financial situation of the businesses before lending or granting more money for them.
“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
Speaking to KNA, Patricia Mutua a fruit vendor at Garissa Township who has registered for the programme said the Covid-19 had negatively affected her business and was relying on the programme for more skills and financial assistance to boost her business.
“We sell fruits to mostly travelers. When movement cessation from and to Nairobi was imposed due to Covid-19, my business was hurt. I am expecting that at the end of my training, I will be able to overcome the financial challenges I am facing,” Patricia said.
She urged entrepreneurs in Garissa to come forward and register for free training and financial assistance that will help them to lift their business from the adverse effects caused by Covid-19 pandemic.
AEC Kenya has been working with entrepreneurs in Turkana County and Mombasa and has supported over 1,400 investments, including one-time cash grants for Covid-19 recovery, and boasts of 100 perecnt investment repayment rate.
By Erick Kyalo