Small and mid-sized firms in the consumer and retail, and technology sectors dominated the ranking of the annual Business Daily and KPMG Top 100 SMEs survey.
The two sectors took 15 percent each among the top 100 firms in awards whose results were announced on Friday evening, where fast-moving consumer goods firm, Norda Industries Limited, which manufactures snacks was the overall winner.
It was followed by Pathcare Kenya while Visaro Construction Company came third.
Dana Enterprises Ltd, Kiri Consult, Dignity Traders, East Africa Business Company, United (EA) Warehouse, Professional Digital Systems and Kaeser Compressor closed the top 10 positions.
The competition helps showcase Kenya's fast-growing mid-sized firms running sustainable businesses and is expected to help them attract funding and opportunities.
“Nation Media Group and KPMG have been partnering on this event because they wanted to drive the sector's growth significantly. We want to celebrate, recognise and award outstanding businesses and give them a platform to access more funding, credibility and opportunities to expand their businesses,” NMG chief executive Stephen Gitagama said.
The SME sector in Kenya creates about 80 percent of employment and has established a new middle class through jobs created, helping to drive demand for new goods and services.
While most are informal, firms in the survey submit audited financial accounts for the period between 2018 and 2021 underlining the need for accountability and book-keeping.
This year’s competition surveyed 188 companies with a four-year average turnover of Sh50 million to Sh1 billion. The companies should not be listed on the stock exchange.
Banks, and professional service firms such as law, accounting, and audit companies, saccos, and insurance companies are also excluded.
The survey returned after a two-year absence, following the Covid disruptions, with this year also focusing on evaluating their resilience to the economic crisis.
It also included new rankings including sustainability, corporate social responsibility, diversity and inclusion, added to digital transformation, innovation, health and safety.
Companies from the construction and real estate sectors were 13 percent, industrial manufacturing was 11 percent, agribusiness and transport sectors were eight percent and the rest took 30 percent.
From the survey, the majority of the businesses reported a revenue turnover of Sh100 million to Sh499 million over the four years.
About 43 percent of the companies from the survey have expanded their businesses into other countries with Uganda remaining the leading choice for business expansion in 2022.
Depreciating currencies, declining profitability, and changes in regulation are ranked as the top three challenges mid-sized companies face. Others include increased tax rates, declining turnover, increased cost of labour and political uncertainties.