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Laikipia partners with KEBS to Support SMEs

Laikipia County has partnered with the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) to support local small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and accelerate their growth.

Laikipia County Chief Officer in Charge of Trade, Samuel Njuki, speaking during a SMEs workshop on KEBS standardisation and certification process in Nanyuki, said that local manufacturers had challenges selling their products due to a lack of statutory body stamps.

“The reason for this workshop is because our local manufacturers have had a hard time since they can’t sell their products in supermarkets and other outlets due to a lack of KEBS certification,” said Njuki.

The Chief Officer said the partnership aimed to ensure local SMEs involved in the production process were trained and equipped with knowledge on KEBS certification and product quality requirements targeted to boost business growth.

“We have partnered with KEBS to train SMEs on how they can certify their products at the grassroots without having to travel outside the county to seek services for legalising their products with statutory agencies,” he noted.

The chief officer further pointed out that supporting SMEs in acquiring marks of quality was to enable them to tap opportunities and be able to sell their products at the Rumuruti industrial park after its completion.

KEBS Quality Assurance Officer Simon Chomba said that after SMEs had acquired certifications, they were better positioned to market their products locally and internationally.

“We are delighted to train SMEs on how to register their businesses so that we have them in our market. The majority of them lacked information on how to register for KEBS, but now they know,” said Chomba.

He said that some SMEs had challenges with registration charges, but the county government was committed to funding them.

He said that with the partnership with the county, they would evaluate SMEs on a case-by-case basis to ensure they were able to access the market and sell their products easily.

The standardisation officer warned that all products on the market were required to have quality stamps, aimed at protecting consumers from purchasing counterfeit goods.

Chomba encouraged those already undergoing the workshop on the KEBS registration requirement to get registered.

The county Director of Trade Ms. Cecilia Maina, said that the county had an array of products, including honey, cactus wine production, and bakeries, among others. Thus,  traders needed to get registered with the legal bodies to access the market.

George Macharia, a local manufacturer, urged KEBS to monitor SMEs in the county, aimed at controlling counterfeit products in the market, while also calling on the government to support innovators and create job opportunities.

“I would like the government to intervene in innovation and prevent the entry of counterfeit goods into the market to spur the economy and create job opportunities,” said Macharia.

Jecinta Mwangi, a youth, said he had challenges raising funds for the certification process amidst fear of their products being rejected due to poor quality, which has now been solved by KEBS and the county government’s commitment to supporting SMEs.

In the workshop, various SMEs showcased the products they make within the county.

By Muturi Mwangi

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