Micro and Small Enterprises Authority (MSEA) had target of creating 80 per cent of the one million jobs the Jubilee Government had promised to create last year. But apparently neither the government nor the authority reached anywhere near those figures.
One of the challenges is to establish just how many people established their own businesses or were employed in the absence of statistics. MSEA was in the process of organizing for a survey to create such data.
MSEA is a Government agency entrusted with supervising micro and small enterprises (MSEs) in the country. Its legal mandate is to regulate, harmonize and co-ordinate the sector, as well as oversee and encourage its growth.
By last year some 2,011 associations, with membership ranging from 35 to 2,000 had already registered as members of MSEA.
MSEA offices are spread across all 47 counties and small and micro enterprises can easily access guidance particularly regarding which associations registered with MSEA they can join.
MSEA conducts training to identify their needs to see how best to help them.
Before the establishment of MSEA, MSEs were under various ministries including those of Labor, Industrialization, Trade, Commerce, Local Government, Agriculture and the Office of the President.
According to the CEO Patrick Mwangi, people running small businesses have low incomes and with the escalating value of property, there is a tendency for them to be edged out from key trading areas.
Problems of micro enterprises
“We have come in to protect all the property that had been earmarked for the MSE sector, be it a market or manufacturing zone. We are going further to see how we can add value to such land.
“We also train entrepreneurs on business, managerial and leadership skills, and help them to identify gaps and opportunities for growth.
“We have also facilitated MSEs’ access to markets through trade shows and exhibitions in Kenya and abroad. Additionally, we have enhanced their visibility to relevant stakeholders.”
The biggest challenge for MSEs is poor access to markets. “But since MSEA came in, we have been able to expose more than 2,500 enterprises to local and international markets, says Mr. Mwangi.
The Authority will launch a product competitiveness program to ease the process of getting MSEs products to new markets by addressing packaging, quality and quantity issues.
Other issues being addressed by the Authority are access to infrastructure, work sites and financial services.
“We are in the process of setting up a flexible framework that will help MSEs borrow cash and repay it, as well as enhancing access to work sites.”
Currently MSEs’ contribution some 20 per cent to the country’s PGD. “The moment the bottom of the pyramid stops being a consumer economy and becomes a productive economy, MSEs’ contribution to GDP will easily hit a world record of 40 per cent,” says Mr. Mwangi