New project to help women and youth get a third of Nairobi tenders

Boda Boda Association members at a past function. They could benefit from a governor’s roundtable platform to network and do business. PHOTO | EVANS HABIL
Boda Boda Association members at a past function. They could benefit from a governor’s roundtable platform to network and do business. PHOTO | EVANS HABIL 

Small-scale businesses managed by youth and women will soon start bagging one in every three tenders awarded by the Nairobi County Government, according to an agreement reached last week.

They will also receive requisite training on entrepreneurial skills to survive in the competitive business environment.

This is according to resolutions arrived at during a meeting between Nairobi Governor Mike Mbuvi Sonko and the Nairobi chapter of the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI) last week.

During the meeting, the chamber undertook to work closely with the county government to create a conducive environment for small and medium businesses to thrive.

According to the chairman of KNCCI, Nairobi Chapter, Mr Richard Ngatia, the business lobby will build networks with neighbouring county governments of Kajiado, Kiambu and Machakos to support local SMEs.

The chamber plans to create a database of small firms to ensure structured engagement and better coordination. The same will link consumers and providers of goods and services in the four devolved units.

Mr Ngatia said the chamber will develop an “Ease of Doing Business Index” and a “Small Business Index” for Nairobi county to help track the success of small businesses and their potential impact on jobs and the economy.

“We want to publish an employment and opportunity database in collaboration with the Federation of Kenya Employers (FKE), Kenya Private Sector Alliance (Kepsa), international recruitment agencies and the national government to help the youth access business and employment opportunities,” he said during the meeting.

Nairobi county and the chamber resolved to mobilise development partners and philanthropists to develop a small grants-cum-business loan initiative to be managed by a reputable firm. 

The move will see SMEs in Nairobi and neighbouring counties benefit from loans to enable them to exploit the provision of 30 per cent supply tenders, as envisaged in national laws.

The meeting also agreed to establish a database for small and medium enterprises to help improve engagement and lobbying, and a youth employment hub for publishing job opportunities.

The meeting resolved that the chamber would liaise with the Nairobi county government, which was represented by Mr Sonko and deputy Polycarp Igathe, to convene a governor’s roundtable as a platform through which stakeholders — including the Nairobi Business Association, Boda Boda Association and Matatu Owners Association, among others — will engage constructively.

Previously, the county government has been at war with hawkers, matatu operators and boda boda riders who have been blamed for congestion in the city.

Hawkers and operators of matatus and boda bodas have usually complained of harassment by city askaris, a conflict the chamber says it is determined to solve.

The chamber will also work with the county government to enact a “Creative Economy Act” to support artisans, jua kali sector, innovators, craft industry and sectors such as film, theatre and music.

Mr Sonko told the meeting that the county government acknowledges the contribution of small businesses in the creation of jobs and revenue and is committed to signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the chamber to realise its goals. The meeting was also attended by the CEO of the Nairobi Chapter, Nemaisa Kiereini.