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Small businesses to benefit from Co-op, IFC financing

Zachary Ochuodho @zachuodho

Co-operative Bank has unveiled a Sh15.2 billion training programme aimed at growing micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) countrywide.

The programme, funded in partnership with the International Finance Corporation (IFC), provides affordable financing and business training to Kenyan MSMEs.

Speaking during the first MSME Customer Networking Forum in Nairobi, Co-operative Bank retail and business banking director Arthur Muchangi said the two institutions have expended a lot of resources on customer engagements and research to understand the dynamics of this critical business segment.

“We now know for a fact that MSMEs are the bedrock of wealth creation in Kenya as they account for more than 90 per cent of Kenya’s private sector, employing more than 15 million Kenyans in both the 1.7 million registered and seven million unregistered businesses,” said Muchangi.

The programme, “Customer Networking Forums” is a key part of Co-op MSME programme as it is widely acknowledged that MSMEs need the insights and training on economic matters that have a direct bearing on their business and which they have little or no control over.

The forums will be held across the country and feature a detailed presentation by the bank’s economists on opportunities in and out of the country that MSMEs can tap and the ways the bank is working to enable customers seize these opportunities.

This is followed by a panel discussion with bank representatives and successful entrepreneurs, concluding with a networking session.

Muchangi added that the crucial insights on MSMEs that the bank had gained had helped it retool and refresh the product offering to make it more responsive to their needs,

“We have made available a substantial kitty of Sh15.2 billion for a package of loans that includes an unsecured business loan, a first of its kind in Kenya, E-Credit through our MCo-op Cash App where businesses are able to borrow up to Sh2 million via their mobile phone, packaged insurance cover which are handpicked and specifically negotiated to suit various segments under MSME and revised and pre-approved limits on overdrafts and loans.

The loans will be supported by trade services that include letters of credit, guarantees, supply chain financing, among others,” said Muchangi.

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