In Brief

SME owners hone skills for business growth and impact

A total of 25 SME business owners have graduated with certificates from the Enterprise Development Programme, an initiative established last year through an alliance between NCBA and the Strathmore Business School.

Over a four-month course, the beneficiaries honed their skills across various realms of business and economy, equipping them to address the needs and challenges faced by SMEs.

The program immersed participants in locally developed business case studies, providing them with tools and skills to recognize and leverage business opportunities. Additionally, it aimed to foster the development of socially responsible and viable businesses, promoting successful entrepreneurship in the region.

The first cohort focused on business owners with investments boasting an annual turnover of Kes3 million, three or more employees, and a business tenure of over three years.

“NCBA remains committed to Kenya’s economic growth. This commitment informed our decision to partner with the Strathmore Business School to support our SME customers in growing their business ventures. As a bank, we extend financial support to our customers to facilitate payments,” noted Tirus Mwithiga, the Group Director of Retail Banking at NCBA.

Dr. Majid Twahir, the Associate Dean of Research and Innovation at Strathmore University Business School, emphasized the university’s dedication to empowering SMEs in Kenya and beyond.

“As an entrepreneurial university, Strathmore University is deeply committed to nurturing the growth of SMEs. Our focus on SMEs aligns with their pivotal role in sustaining households, fostering innovation, and being prolific sources of employment,” said Dr. Majid.

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Strategic Partnerships

During the graduation ceremony, NCBA and Strathmore University Business School announced the further enhancement of their partnership through the Owner Manager Programme (OMP), a program for mid-sized companies in East Africa.

Mr. Mwithiga spoke about the program, stating, “As per our tradition, we will continue to develop different programs that support all our customers. The most exciting aspect of the OMP Program lies in the strategic partnership with the Lagos Business School, Nigeria. This will facilitate an exchange of ideas between East African and West African entrepreneurs.”

To join the OMP Program, one must be a Founder, CEO, Shareholder, or Managing Director of a business that has been operating for over 5 years, with an annual turnover of Kes50 million and over 20 employees. According to Forbes, SMEs in West Africa make up to 90 percent of businesses and contribute 40 percent to the region’s GDP.

Providing a platform for networking between the two regions will boost innovation and economic integration, which are indispensable for developing countries. The collaboration will also facilitate the smooth expansion of trade within the regions and foster regional stability.

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