Boost for SMEs in North Rift as hub for key State services opens in Eldoret

Thousands of small scale traders in North Rift region can look forward to faster access to key services following the opening of one stop shop in Eldoret.

Dubbed Biashara Centre, the initiative will provide ease of access to essential business and trade services such as loans for the Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), registration of ventures for purposes of tax compliance, as well as the certification of products for those involved in manufacturing.

The center, which shall be housed at the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) Eldoret office, will also see small scale traders accelerate the registration of their brands, access training to sharpen their methods of production besides providing a platform to regulate and develop SMEs under one roof across the expansive region.

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“The opening of the new center in Eldoret is part of our collaborative role under our parent ministry in expansion strategy to reach local communities and MSMEs with timely government services in a bid to spur economic growth and boost trade in the region,” said Lt Col (rtd) Bernard Njiraini, Managing Director, KEBS.

Small and medium-sized enterprises, which sustain the highest proportion of employment in the Kenya, are the most vulnerable with limited access to financing especially in the past year due to Covid-19 economic fallout. 

About 1,200 large companies and over 300 MSMEs from Uasin Gishu, Nandi, Baringo, Elgeyo Marakwet, West Pokot, Turkana, Bungoma and Trans Nzoia counties are expected to benefit from the biashara center.

“We expect that the center will promote inclusive economic transformation by creating economic hubs that enable youth, women, and persons with disability to ably participate in economic activities and contribute to the attainment of Vision 2030,” he added.

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Some of the government agencies already set up at the center include Kenya Accreditation Service (KENAS), Kenya Industrial Property Institute (KIPI), Kenya Industrial Estates (KIE), Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA), Numerical Machining Complex (NMC), Kenya Industrial and Development Institute (KIRDI), Micro and Small Enterprises Authority (MSEA), among others.

The center also houses modern testing and calibration facilities which is equipped with five laboratories including food and agriculture, microbiology, organic and inorganic chemistry, instrumentation and metrology that will offer testing and calibration services to the North Rift region customers as opposed to sending samples to Nairobi as done before.

North Rift region is home to Kenya’s food basket with agriculture as the main economic activity in the area.

Agriculture contributes about 33 per cent to Kenya’s Gross Domestic Product, generates about 60 per cent of job opportunities while accounting for 65 per cent of the country’s exports.

Growth of the agriculture industry in Kenya is, however, constrained by limited long-term financing, which delays its development and modernization.

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