The Kenyan economy thrives on the wheels of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). About 90 percent of businesses in Kenya are SMEs. They employ about 86 percent of the Kenyan population and contribute about 45.5 percent to Kenya’s gross domestic product (GDP).
Despite the immense advantages of SMEs to the Kenyan economy, they face a myriad of challenges that have often threatened to kill millions of them. Statistics from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) show that at least 450,000 SMEs shut down annually. This means at least 30,000 are shutting down monthly and 1,000 daily.
One thing that many stakeholders fail to grasp is that the majority of SMEs in Kenya are owned by women. This means that when such businesses collapse en masse, the majority of the owners, who are women, are feeling the heat. Any business, therefore, that has initiatives that support women’s growth and businesses, is not only helping women but society in general.
Financial institutions such as Stanbic Bank Kenya play a critical role in supporting women in business by providing access to capital, credit, financial literacy training, networking, and, in the process, helping women entrepreneurs start, grow, and scale their businesses to a whole new level.
Initiatives such as DADA by Stanbic Bank, an all-in-one and all-inclusive platform for women that provides financial and non-financial services to enable you to start and grow in business, are without doubt one that should be replicated by other players in supporting women entrepreneurs within and without Kenya.
With a 20-billion-shilling kitty available for women with viable businesses of all sizes in both formal and informal sectors in Kenya, DADA has set a precedent that provides a lifeline for millions of small businesses in Kenya. The fact that DADA also gives unsecured loans, home loans as well as financing vehicles and assets, is enough for stakeholders to drum support and have more women joining and benefitting.
It is through initiatives that businesses owned by women in Kenya will be able and free to borrow, save, protect, and manage wealth, as well as non-financial benefits through education, information, networking, rewards, and wellness activities.
There is no doubt that women-owned businesses are a vital part of the Kenyan economy. They employ millions of people and generate millions of shillings in revenue. According to a study by the World Bank, women-owned businesses are less likely to have access to credit than male-owned businesses. It is on this premise that DADA operates on, and is the only one that offers a lifeline to businesses.