The World Bank has offered Sh1.5 billion in grants to 750 businesses that will win in the 10-week online competition, MbeleNaBiz.
Country director Carlos Felipe said the nationwide competition targets businesses that show potential to scale, generate profits for founders as well as new jobs for Kenyan youth.
“Of the 850,000 jobs created last year, 83 percent came from the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) segment in Kenya. That means helping SMEs access credit could facilitate expansion, hence more jobs created as it happened in Nigeria where a similar programme saw nine jobs created in every SME we funded,” he said.
Trade and Industry Secretary Peter Munya said thorough scrutiny will be done for SMEs that apply to participate in the competition with a view to selecting genuine start-ups that have for long missed growth targets due to lack of credit.
Mr Munya said collaboration between government and the private sector was key to the programme’s success, adding that the competition will favour small enterprsies whose activities are aligned to the Big Four agenda.
Through www.MbeleNaBiz.go.ke portal applicants will be expected to provide evidence of ongoing start-ups and provide a business development plan that could be funded under the programme.
Applicants must file proposal for funding by September 9 with names of the shortlisted compamnies to be announced in November when a training session will be carried for the next three months.
Finalists will receive the business development funds next February.
Some 250 SMEs will get Sh3.6 million while another 500 SMEs are planned to get Sh900,000 each.