Market News

Dubai firm inks funding deal for youth in Kenya


Youth Enterprise Development Fund chairman Victor Mwongera (left), youth secretary Raymond Ochieng (second) and acting CEO Benson Muthendi at a recent function in Nairobi. FILE

UAE-based business intelligence and investment firm Investera said on Monday it has entered into an agreement with the Youth Enterprise Development Fund (YEF) to mobilise funds for youth-owned businesses in Kenya.

Investera Plus Africa general manager Mohamed Shaban said the firm would help companies Kenyan youth-run to mobilise capital or necessary financial muscles to upgrade their enterprises.

The Dubai firm says it has already mobilised $1 billion (Sh110 billion) seed capital for start-ups and financial boost for companies looking to expand, especially within the Middle East and North Africa region.

“We are proud to be associated with the Youth Enterprise Development Fund since Investera Plus Africa shares the same vision with the fund. We aim to see the growth of businesses, especially startups by providing business development support services to companies that are keen on expanding their businesses or getting access to funding. This is our business because we already have enough investors willing to finance good business ideas,” said Mr Shaban in a statement.

“Raising start-up capital and access to markets are some of the biggest challenges for startups and Kenyan entrepreneurs since most financial institutions require collateral that most of them do not have. This challenge is now going to be a thing of the past because we have been able to provide easy access to markets and financial support,” added Mr Shaban.

Acting Youth Enterprise Development Fund CEO Benson Muthendi welcomed the partnership between the fund and Investera Plus Africa.

“InvesteraPlus Africa comes at a perfect time to support the Kenyan Youth. I appreciate what they are doing and how their platform will support the ecosystem,” he said.

The fund, established in 2006 to provide loans for youth-owned businesses.

Investera launched operations in Kenya in July this year that will see it guide foreign investors seeking to invest locally and link local firms to foreign opportunities.

The entry is through a partnership deal with their local counterparts, Investera Plus Africa.

The firm will provide market research, due diligence, investment advisory, and financial intelligence services to investors, businesses, and entrepreneurs.

Raising start-up capital and access to markets are some of the biggest challenges for budding Kenyan entrepreneurs, with banks requiring collateral that most of them do not have, a past study showed.

The CBK warned last year more than 75 percent of Kenyan small businesses faced collapse under the threats of the Coronavirus pandemic that had brought the world to a standstill.

Between January to March 2019, the fund had disbursed Sh86.6 million, benefiting 10,150 youths across the country.