Top 100 SMEs contest back after two-year hiatus


Invited guests follow proceedings during the Top 100 SMES Conference in 2019. FILE PHOTO | NMG

The annual Top 100 Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) has made a comeback after a two-year absence with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) as the main sponsor.

This year’s edition will see companies evaluated on their environmental, social, and governance (ESG) performance in addition to financial performance and other indicators.

The survey— a joint initiative between the Nation Media Group and consultancy firm KPMG East Africa identifies top mid-sized firms that have an annual turnover of between Sh50 million and Sh1 billion.

This is the first time that ESG performance will form part of the indicators used to pick the winners, underlining the increasing demand on firms to address the impact of their businesses on society and climate.

“ESG is now a top agenda item in organisations and is going to influence how we do business. It is paramount for mid-sized companies to appreciate how they will be held accountable for their ESG commitments,” KPMG East Africa chief executive Benson Ndung’u said.

The competition has been key in improving the governance of selected firms, ultimately boosting their financial performances beyond the Sh1 billion annual turnover.

Firms are required to submit audited financial accounts for the period between 2018 and 2022 underlining the need for improved accountability and book-keeping.

The entry of IFC looks set to boost the fortunes of participating firms given the financier’s role in unlocking credit for small businesses in the country and offering technical advisory services to the firms.

“We are very excited to be walking this journey with the IFC this year. As you all know, they have been at the forefront of investing in emerging markets and economies for decades, and as such, are the perfect partner for this venture,” Nation Media Group chief executive officer Stephen Gitagama said.

Firms in the banking, insurance, legal services, and savings and credit co-operative societies are barred from participating in the survey which also does not involve businesses listed on the Nairobi Stock Exchange.

The survey recognises the best 100 small businesses in the country helping increase their attractiveness to employees and funders as well as easing the sale of their products in a competitive marketplace.

The edition that will officially be opened to firms next month comes after a two-year break occasioned by the restrictions imposed to curb the spread of the Coronavirus disease in 2020.

Nairobi-based creative firm Trueblaq, founded by the late events guru Kevin Ombajo, was crowned the overall winner in the last edition held in 2019.

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