We Need to Do More to Support MSMEs
Over 70% of all jobs created in most economies are in the Micro, small and medium enterprises category and if you consider emerging economies like Kenya, this figure jumps to over 80% according to a report by the International Trade Centre titled Promoting SME Competitiveness in Kenya.
This translates to 8 out of every 10 jobs.
In addition to job creation, MSMEs also contribute to sustainable development, in terms of contributions to economic growth, provision of public goods and services, as well as the reduction of both poverty and wealth inequality. How can we ensure that this segment of the economy survives the current pandemic and continues to drive our economy?
Back in 2008, as a small three-year-old independent advertising agency trying to grow, I nearly lost out on a major advertising project because I had approached the procurement department of one of the big corporations in Kenya to sign some documents confirming they would make payment to a specific bank account to support an invoice discounting facility I was applying for to enable me to do the project. His argument was that if I couldn’t afford to finance the project then I didn’t qualify to be a vendor for that organization. This is despite the fact that I had already won a major pitch against bigger agencies which meant I was technically capable of getting the job done.
This bias against MSME’s is just one example of the multiple barriers that small businesses in Kenya and possibly the rest of Africa face while trying to grow their businesses. As we mark this MSME day during an unprecedented time, let’s work together to develop and put forward practices and policies in our country that support the growth of more small businesses.
MSMEs not only matter but are the future of our economy.