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Government invites SMEs for Capacity Building under KIEP 250+’s Cohort II Call for Applications

‘Successful SMEs to enjoy a comprehensive package of resources, mentorship, and funding’

The government has inaugurated the second call for SME applications to the Kenya Industry and Entrepreneurship Programme 250+ (KIEP 250+) run by the Ministry of Investments, Trade, and Industry (MITI). This is a significant step towards enhancing Kenya’s SME landscape by boosting the growth and innovation of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the country.

During the launch of the KIEP 250+ Cohort II Call for Applications, Dr. Juma Mukhwana, the Principal Secretary (PS), State Department of Industry in the MITI, noted that  SMEs play a vital role in driving economic growth, creating employment opportunities, and fostering innovation. He added that the government is committed to selecting SMEs from all corners of the country, with at least 20 percent of them being women-owned businesses.

“We have officially opened the second application window for eligible SMEs to benefit from KIEP 250+. The Project aims to build competitive world-class SMEs, thereby enhancing Kenya’s manufacturing sector and entrepreneurship ecosystem,” he said.

The Sh 7.5 billion (USD 50 million) KIEP, implemented in partnership with the World Bank, offers performance-based grant funding for technical assistance to SMEs to upgrade and achieve their full potential. This helps them to identify sustainable growth paths and receive support from expert business development service providers.

The Project provides targeted support to SMEs through a comprehensive package of resources, mentorship, and funding and addresses the challenges that they face in accessing finance, market opportunities, and technical expertise. Through the KIEP 250+ Cohort II Call for Applications, the government is inviting SMEs from various sectors that have been in operation for at least two years and have demonstrated potential for growth and innovation.


“Successful applicants will receive tailored support based on their specific needs and aspirations. It will include access to financing options, business development services, mentorship from industry experts, and networking opportunities,” the PS said.


The SMEs, he added, will be equipped with the necessary tools and knowledge to overcome challenges and seize growth opportunities. Coupled with the direct support of the KIEP 250+ programme, the result will be an enabling environment for SMEs by advocating for policy reforms that promote entrepreneurship and innovation.

“The government recognises that a conducive policy framework is essential for SMEs to thrive and contribute to the country’s economic transformation, and to ensuring the success of the KIEP 250+ programme and the growth of SMEs in Kenya,” explained Dr. Mukhwana.

He encouraged all eligible SMEs to seize the opportunity and take their businesses to the next level, noting that the grant funding can make a significant difference in their journey towards success.

Maarten Susan, the KIEP 250+ team leader, affirmed that Kenya’s SME sector has previously encountered market failures, including low productivity, marginalised innovation, and gaps in linkages between traditional industries and SMEs. “KIEP 250+ addresses these challenges by mobilising working capital, technology, and expertise to support the creation of a sustainable innovation ecosystem, and participating SMEs will undergo several stages, starting with identifying areas for improvement and designing performance improvement plans,” she explained.

A requirement for SMEs participating in the programme is to be legally registered in Kenya, have been in operation for a minimum of two years, and achieved an annual turnover ranging from Sh 50 million to Sh 1 billion. Additionally, they must be nominated by a lead firm, financial institution, or business association and have a management team willing to commit to a performance improvement plan.

SMEs that provide opportunities for persons living with disabilities (PLWD), youth, and women-led enterprises are highly encouraged to apply for KIEP 250+ in order to unlock their full potential, expand their businesses, and contribute to the realisation of Kenya’s vision of becoming a globally competitive economy. Launched in November 2020, the KIEP 250+ micro website and the SMARTME platform are transformative initiatives designed to increase productivity, foster innovation, and establish market linkages and capacity among SMEs in the priority sectors.

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