The E4Impact accelerator programme sponsored by the Office of the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS) was launched in Karen, as part of an initiative aimed at contributing to the attainment of the United Nations 2030 sustainable development goals.
The accelerator programme will provide Small and Medium Enterprise businesses (SMEs) with training, linkages with local and international business connections, seed funding, CT as well as satellite communication services and office spaces.
Speaking at the launch of the programme, the E4Impact Foundation, General Manager, Frank Cinque, said that the entrepreneurship center programme is in line with the Big Four Agenda on healthcare, manufacturing, food security and housing.
“The Big 4 Agenda is part of our mission at the entrepreneurship centre. We want to interlink that with Italian competencies to create a mutually beneficial relationship where Kenyans and Italians abroad can interact, exchange goods, services and technologies,” said Cinque.
According to the Head of the European Union delegation Henriette Geiger, SMEs are the driving force behind the economy of the European Union. She reiterated the commitment of the European Union to partner with other countries in supporting SMES as well as the crucial role played by SMEs.
“In European countries, most universities have business incubators and accelerators near the institution because the problem of youth unemployment is not only a problem in Kenya but also in Europe,” said Geiger.
Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) Governor, Dr Patrick Njoroge, said the E4Impact accelerator programme would provide Kenyan entrepreneurs with the opportunity to scale-up their businesses while being connected to the Italian business sector and the European Union.
“This vision of growing Kenyan start-ups is what connects the Central Bank of Kenya and the E4Impact programme. We at CBK believe that the Kenyan economy will accelerate through SMEs. The launch comes at a crucial period when there has been a retrogression of the sustainable development goals due to climate change and the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Njoroge.
The Italian Ambassador to Kenya, Alberto Pieri, has reiterated the significance of the private sector to the growth of the economy across the globe, citing that Small and Medium Enterprises contribute to 40% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in Kenya.
The project aims to bring digitalization to traditional economic activities, access to finances, job creation and promotion of cross border trade between Kenya and the European Union. The three-year project will oversee the acceleration of 30 SME companies each year and 10 companies incubated from the idea stage into functioning businesses.
By Amy Moyi