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Standardised SMEs Incubation and Collaborative Frameworks Key to a Better Business Environment

The Association of Startups and SMEs Enablers of Kenya (ASSEK) called for decentralisation of entrepreneur support to county headquarters to enable local businesses access entrepreneurship and innovation expertise. This will fasttrack support for local startups where the government should consider upgrading county innovation centres into anchors of innovation.

According to Ecosystem Entrepreneurship Report highlights presented at the one-day Policy Roundtable entitled ‘Building An Enabling Environment For Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Actors’, supporting startups and SMEs based outside Nairobi will ease challenges the businesses encounter such as lack of digital services, poor access to funds, poor access to tradeoffs of price and access to clientele as well as improve their availability at a physical location.

Speaking during the event attended by 120 founder-chief executives of entrepreneur support organisations, Ms Mercy Kimalat, Chief Executive, ASSEK said this support from a formalised entrepreneurship support system was key to taking Kenya to its next phase of growth. Kenya has a robust innovation ecosystem that last year attracted the highest Investment Funding Volume to the tune of KES107.6 m ($800,000).

“Kenya’s innovation scene, which is ranked third in Africa with energy and environment sectors being the best performing industries, has room for further growth that will enable more startups to scale up creating new products while opening up more job opportunities. We need to come up with programmes that improve access to affordable capital, digitisation, access to best fit talent as well as tradeoff of price and access to clientele, enablers and services,” she said.

The roundtable also generated valuable insights of the ongoing projects under the Kenya Industry and Entrepreneurship Project that are jointly funded by the government and the World Bank.They also agreed to promote collaborative actions involving ASSEK, key government agencies, and  Enterprise Support Organisations (ESOs) so as to support the entrepreneurship ecosystem in Kenya. 

Notable startups include M-Kopa(Energy), Cellulant(Fintech), Wasoko(E-Commerce), (Energy), Twiga(E-Commerce), Copia(E-Commerce), Cytonn(Fintech), Apollo(Agtech), LipaLater(Fintech), Big Square(Foodtech) and Poa Internet(Software).



  • Innovation and Entrepreneurship Support should be decentralised as up to 87 percent are based in Nairobi and the top 4 cities
  • Startup and Entrepreneurship Online Portal be established
  • Create awareness on Government-Backed Loans

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