North Rift start-ups secure access to incubation centre


Kenya Bureau of Standards Managing Director Bernard Njiraini (centre), Industrialisation, Trade and Enterprise Development’s Chief Administrative Secretary Lawrence Karanja (left), Uasin Gishu County ‘s Chief Executive Committee in charge of Trade and other guests share pieces of a cake during the launch of the centre on March 8, 2021. PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA | NMG

Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the North Rift are set to benefit after government launched a new enterprise centre to support innovations and improve ease of doing business.

Under the plan, the first such innovation centre outside Nairobi will bring together Kenya Industrial Research and Development Institute (KIRDI), Kenya Industrial Property Institute (Kipi), and Kenya Industrial Estate (KIE) under one roof.

Industrialisation Chief Administrative Secretary Lawrence Karanja on Monday during its launch said Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) will offer technical advice on standards of goods, KIRDI assist in incubating start-up ideas and KIE provide financial support while KIPI will support their registration.

“We will also be having the Micro and Small Enterprises Authority (MSEA) that will provide technical advice by incubating an idea and help it grow into big. They will also link the SMEs to the outside world,” added the CAS.

Mr Karanja added that the government plans to open more centres across the country including in Kisumu and Mombasa counties. It has already opened on in Kariobangi, Nairobi County.

“This means that SMES, who want to start operations, don’t need to travel to Nairobi to get some of these certifications. We believe that it will ease the way of doing business, efficient and cost-effective for the start-ups,” said the CAS.

Kebs managing director (MD) Bernard Njiraini disclosed that multi-agencies were working to develop a single trademark to enhance quality and certification of goods in the market.

“We are working with Kenya Revenue Authority and other regulatory agencies to come up with more advanced quality mark with advanced security features that will have track and trace capability. Following the Parliamentary Public Investment Committee guidance, we don’t need to have several marks,” said Mr Njiraini.

The MD issued a stern warning to those involved in coming up fake trademarks, noting that the government will take action against them.

“Under the Standards Act it is punishable to forge a standardation mark. We have a number (SMS#22203) that shows you who manufactured a given product, the product’s name and more details about the product,” said the MD.

His KIE counterpart Parmain Ole Narikae said the one stop shop will bring the agency’s business incubation and financial services closer to the residents in the North Rift region.

“KIE will facilitate loan applications at the biashara centre for SME owners in need of financial support to boost their enterprises,” she said.

Last month, innovation hub- Kikao-64 opened a co-working space in Eldoret town as it eyes the tech start-ups and other professionals to spur growth in North Rift and Western Kenya regions.

Kikao 64 is offering services such as consulting services such as legal, company registration, tax audit and web design.