Wangechi Muriuku, IIA-Kenya County Director (right), addressing the BLP participants during the launch at Pride Inn Lantana.
October 18, 2019

Business Linkages Programme: Preparing Businesses For Growth

A vibrant and expanding small business sector can be a major catalyst of inclusive growth. Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) play a crucial role in the developing the Kenyan economy by creating employment and wealth for communities. According to a National Economic Survey by Central Bank of Kenya, Kenya’s 2017 overall GDP growth was projected at 6.4 percent with SMEs contributing 3 percent. They are the key building blocks in achieving the Government’s Big 4 Agenda because they support each facet of the initiative. The SMEs are tapping into opportunities that enhance manufacturing, food security and nutrition, universal health coverage, and affordable housing.

 

Despite their key role in the economy, SMEs have a difficult time accessing the financial services, market opportunities and are limited in the skills and knowledge that can fuel their growth. These stumbling blocks to scaling up limit the SMEs’ access to economic advantages that can help them access bigger opportunities.

 

As a solution to the SME challenges, especially their access to relevant skills training and knowledge, IIA-Kenya in partnership with Transformational Business Networks (TBN), launched the Business Linkages Programme (BLP). BLP is 6-month, a 360-degree practical, relevant and experiential SME management training and mentorship programme designed to help SMEs fast track their businesses competitiveness, by equipping them with the requisite skills and strategic knowledge that prepares them for sustainable advancement.

 

Some of the benefits that participants will receive from the programme are expert support, business diagnostics and high touch consultancy, and expert coaching and peer mentoring. Other benefits include live investment and financial linkages for business growth, as well as business linkages and opportunities through local and global networking.

 

IIA-Kenya and TBN launched the program on 18th October 2019 at Pride Inn Lantana with the first cohort. The SMEs that registered for the course come from diverse sectors, from manufacturing to training to fashion. Some of the companies that will go through the programme over the next 6 months are Kega Fashions, ABI EA Institute of Welding, Journey Works, all from Kiambu County, Econome from Kakamega, Nakauron and Nakupurat both from Turkana.

 

Speaking at the launch, the Country Director IIA-Kenya, Wangechi Muriuki, took the participants through the foundations of and need for the programme, which will be complemented by both mentorship and coaching and will position their companies for excellence. She added that the participants would undergo business diagnostics to ascertain the areas of support and help them craft a business strategy with the advice of the Business Development advisors, consultants and mentors.

 

The TBN Regional Director Jacob Zikusooka, emphasized on the importance of promoting learning among entrepreneurs in the region. He cited the potential of this programme in driving job creation and solutions to the challenges faced by local communities.

 

With the numerous changes to the business environment, it is becoming more important for SMEs to be able to be flexible and adapt their strategies and plans to the changes that they face. To achieve this requires the right knowledge at the right time, delivered in the right context. This is what BLP does. Being at the heart of IIA’s initiatives, it seeks to bridge the ever-growing knowledge gap so that SMEs can take advantage of the opportunities that they encounter. This will help the businesses participate in the economic development of the country and advance business inclusiveness.