Visa has funded Hand in Hand’s Kenya Micro-Enterprise Success (KMES) programme, which has helped entrepreneurs increase their monthly incomes by an average of USD $156 (approximately KES 20,000). The project was launched in 2020 and aimed to assist existing small business owners and first-time entrepreneurs living below the poverty line.
Over three years, the programme provided core business training to 8,200 first-time entrepreneurs, 80% of whom were women, to start their own micro-enterprises. It also offered advanced training to 1,600 participants, including 1,280 women, who already owned and operated small businesses. Despite the challenges of the Coronavirus pandemic, the programme achieved significant success.
More than 80% of members reported improved financial management skills, and both first-time and existing entrepreneurs were more financially resilient. This helped participants to withstand the economic effects of the pandemic without having to sell assets or get into debt.
Moving businesses online was a key factor in the entrepreneurs’ success, as they began to market their products on social and digital platforms. The programme created 5,178 jobs against an initial target of 2,766. First-time entrepreneurs increased their profitability by an average of 15%, while existing small business owners boosted their profits by an average of 95%.
All programme members received business and financial training, with existing small business owners given additional mentoring and support to help them scale up their businesses. This included training in social media and digital marketing to help them link up with larger markets and access to credit. Visa and Hand in Hand are proud of the outcomes delivered and will continue to seek partnerships and opportunities that reach the traditionally underserved, providing them with access to resources that can help improve their economic livelihoods, businesses and communities.