The Ministry of Industrialization, Trade and Enterprise Development has chosen Laikipia as the host of the African Industrialization week.
The week will be observed between November 15 th – 20 th this year in Nanyuki. The state department of industrialization is riding on the success of Laikipia’s model of supporting the growth of SMEs which is gaining traction nationally.
The model has managed to entrench itself into the political debates ahead of the General Election, as presidential aspirants seek to address the issue of an inclusive economy and what the government can do to realize the growth of micro-enterprises.
On September 26, former Prime Minister Raila Odinga who was on a three-day tour of Laikipia was impressed by an exhibition of a range of ‘made-in-Laikipia’ products by some of Laikipia SMEs under the Laikipia Innovation and Enterprise Development Programme (LIEDP).
I am happy to see the Laikipia county government under the leadership of Governor Ndiritu Muriithi making deliberate efforts to uplift the SMEs. It’s something that other counties should emulate.Mr. Odinga said.
Two days later, Governor Ndiritu Muriithi was a key speaker at a luncheon organized by Mt. Kenya Foundation. He spoke broadly about the Laikipia economic models.
More than three-quarters of counties have come to benchmark with Laikipia in the last four years.
Laikipia’s strategy is to grow its economy four-fold from Kshs. 100 billion to Kshs. 400 billion within the medium term. Governor Muriithi’s administration has identified enterprise development as a key driver.
Under the Enterprise Development Programme, the county has been incubating micro, small, and medium enterprises – handholding them through the maze of formalization and certification processes. For the economy to grow four-fold, the county is targeting the handholding of 5,000 SMEs. Support to the SMEs under the Laikipia model includes provision of working space, market linkage, intellectual property rights registration, link to strategic partnerships, business planning development, business and technical training link to relevant certification and product development and design. Others include access to finance, mechanization of enterprises to enable mass production and enhancement of the business environment.
It also includes a Sh. 3.3 billion economic stimulus fund set up through a partnership between the county government and several banks. Banks lend to businesses at normal market rates but the county government discounts the interest rate by five percent. This means if the bank is lending at an interest of 12 percent, the business will repay at 7 percent.
Businesses can access facilities such as working capital, asset finance, invoice discounting, Local Purchase Orders (LPOs), Group loans and Agribusiness loans. The main idea is to enable SMEs stand up again after the slowdown by the Covid-19 pandemic. Laikipia-made products have been placed both in local and international markets, 16 other products have filed for utility models and patents.
In 2019, 10 Laikipia enterprises showcased their products in Rwanda during the 20 th East Africa Community MSMEs trade fair. The team got a chance to market their products and learn from other enterprises across the East African Community.
I sell my products in the East African region, Nigeria, Congo, and Rwanda as a result of this exposure. said David Burii who makes maize drier. Three months ago, the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) registered BJ50 – the four-wheeler tuk-tuk that Governor Ndiritu Muriithi rode on in 2017. The assembly is supporting at least 15 Nyahururu-based sub-contractors.
The county is preparing to start exploiting iron ore and other mineral huge deposits in the county to accelerate the industrialization process and electricity reticulation. The demand for more jobs and increased incomes has inadvertently brought to the fore the question of the best model to support SMEs which form the bulk of enterprises to create more jobs and higher incomes. This question is even more relevant to the ten CEREB member counties which have a combined GDP of Kshs. 2.7 trillion, the bulk of which is supported by three million-plus
Governor Ndiritu Muriith believes his county is providing a practical way to support growth of SMEs and a perfect economic stimulus model to cushion the businesses against the devastating effects of Covid-19 pandemic.