Editorials

Pool local funds for struggling startups

CURRENCY

The funding problems affecting Kenyan startups in the digital space are a big concern, particularly in light of the job losses related to these struggles.

Startups in sectors like agribusiness, healthcare and finance have been kept going by a healthy stream of funding from the West, which is now drying up.

This is why the likes of logistics firm Sendy, ride-sharing app Swvl and cloud-based kitchen Kune Foods have struggled. However, such firms have been critical in opening up new job opportunities for Kenyan youth, and therefore the authorities should not sit back and watch them go down.

During this time when capital is not flowing into local businesses from international investors—due to competing high-interest rates in the West—the government and private sector players such as banks ought to make available a pool of funds that these firms can borrow to stay afloat until the cash pipeline from external investors reopens.

But tight scrutiny of the firms would be called for to ensure that owners do not abuse the local funding programme, like some of them have reportedly did with foreign investor support.