Kenyan agribusiness SMEs set for MasterCard funding

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Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the Kenyan agriculture sector are among firms from 20 African countries selected to compete for up to $2.5 million (Sh327 million) in grants from this year’s MasterCard Foundation Fund for Resilience and Prosperity.

The agribusiness challenge funding, which will run for three years, aims to create employment opportunities for youth, including refugees and those with disability.

“The agriculture sector offers great opportunities for innovative SMEs in sub-Saharan Africa to grow and create dignified and fulfilling jobs for young people, especially young women, young people with disabilities, and refugee youth,” said Smita Sanghrajka, Mastercard Foundation Fund for Resilience and Prosperity engagement partner.

This support will be based on the applicants’ stage of development, scalability, and business model, according to agreed periodic milestones, and the selected SMEs will also have access to tailored technical assistance.

“The Mastercard Foundation is working with a network of partners to create employment opportunities for young people across sub-Saharan Africa, in line with our Young Africa Works strategy. The Mastercard Foundation Fund for Resilience and Prosperity is a fantastic opportunity for SMEs looking for support to expand while creating jobs for young people,” said Daniel Hailu, executive director of Pan-African programmes at the Mastercard Foundation.

The initiative comes amid complaints from agribusiness entrepreneurs about the lack of long-term financing from African lenders, as a huge funding gap in the sector persists. Other countries that will benefit include Benin, Burundi, Botswana, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of Congo Ethiopia, Ghana, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.

The challenge is open to applications from SMEs, provided they meet the eligibility criteria and their projects are located in at least one of the fund's 20 focus countries.

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