The Ministry of Industrialization, Trade and Enterprise Development is keen to promote Micro and Small Enterprises development in the North Rift region by enhancing access to information regarding their product standards, intellectual property rights, accreditation, and registration services through the establishment of Biashara Centre.
Uasin Gishu County Biashara centre is the second to be established by the national government in March 2021 after one in Kariobangi in Nairobi followed by others in Mombasa and Kisumu.
Speaking to KNA in an interview at the Eldoret Biashara Centre at the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) building, the North Rift Micro and Small Enterprises Authority (MSEA) Manager Festus Koech said that the Biashara Centre is a customer care service similar to the huduma centres, geared towards promoting Micro and Small Enterprises (MSEs) through sharing of information to enable them to understand and access government services offered by different government agencies.
The Eldoret Biashara Centre is a one-stop shop for the MSEs support services and houses 7 government agencies including The Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS), Micro and Small Enterprises Authority (MSEA), Kenya Industrial Property Institute (KIPI), Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA), Kenya Accreditation Service (KENAS), Kenya Industrial Research and Development Institute (KIRDI) and the Kenya Institute of Business Training (KIBT).
“We offer information on taxation by KRA, technology by KIRDI, marketing and market linkages by MSEA, standards and quality by KEBS, conformity services by KENAS, and patents and trademarks by KIPI,” explained Koech.
The regional manager pointed out that besides customer services, they also carried out other services like capacity building which involved training MSEs on business management skills, production, and value addition.
In addition, through the Constituency Industrial Development Centres (CIDCs) constructed at the constituency level, they provide common user facilities for MSEs and promote industrial development through the provision of user machines and equipment.
Koech noted that the MSEA supports the MSEs through registration and marketing linkages to promote their products and services both in the local and international markets.
“To boost market linkages, MSEA as custodians of MSEs, shall hold an East Africa MSMEs trade fair in Kampala in December where MSEs products will be exhibited to attract potential customers,” said Koech.
“Most important for us is the registration of the MSEs under the MSEA so that they can be officially recognized and whenever they seek any other support provided by the government, it will be easier for the government to know their location and the kind of business they conduct,” he added.
On his part, the Kenya Accreditation Service (KENAS) Principal Officer for Calibration Stanslaus Masinza said the agency works to support business enterprises locally and internationally to ensure manufacturers conform with the requirements of the standards stipulated by regulatory bodies like KEBS and KRA.
“We ensure that products exported to the European market like tea, flowers, coffee and others conform to the requirements of the EU, having been tested in an accredited laboratory,” explained Masinza.
He added that the agency is committed to providing Kenyans with the assurance that the accredited facilities always give results that are credible and reliable and that whoever is testing, inspecting, and certifying is actually competent to carry out the exercise.
He pointed out that KENAS is keen to eliminate non-conformity practices which yield wrong results by conformity assessment teams across all sectors in the country including health, manufacturing and others by ensuring that the organizations carrying out conformity assessment services like testing, calibration, inspection and certification meet the requirements to carry out the exercises.
The Principal Officer commended the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital (MTRH) and the Eldoret Water and Sanitation Company (ELDOWAS) labs for conforming to the requirements for testing to deliver accurate and reliable results.
“In Eldoret, we have a number of clients like the MTRH. If you go there and have your sample tested in their laboratories, the results you will get are correct because we have evaluated their systems right from the personnel, equipment, procedures they use and the environment they carry out the tests as well as the adherence to all other conditions for testing,” said Masinza.
“Another client is the ELDOWAS labs and calibrations. We have checked their process of water treatment to ensure that the water that is provided to the residents of Uasin Gishu and Eldoret municipality is safe,” he added.
He added that all the government agencies in the Biashara Centre worked hand in hand to aid the MSME sector by enhancing access to information to help them boost their businesses.
“In our interest, we are actually aiding all these enterprises in the MSME sector, when they seek information on the conformity of standards of their products, MSEA will advise them to seek the right standards at KEBS, if it is intellectual property right and patents, they will go to KIPI, concerning innovation and product development they will get help from KIRDI, MSEA offers registration services while KENAS provides training on various standards which it accredits,” elaborated Masinza.
By Ekuwam Sylvester and Judy Too