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Kenya Industrial Estates: No Longer a Sleeping Giant - Biashara Leo

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State corporation rolls out a three year strategic plan which has boosted its bottom line and positioned it as a key player in enhancing the country's industrialization level.

enya Industrial Estates (KIE) was established in 1967 as a subsidiary of Industrial Commercial Development
Corporation (ICDC). It is a corporate body which is registered as a public company limited by shares under the Companies Act CAP 486 of the Laws of Kenya. KIE is wholly owned by the Kenya Government. Over the years, the company has mainly focused on offering incubation services. "We have now adopted a modern way of offering the said services through a package which consists of provision of work space or sites for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs); loans and advances for purchase of machinery and equipment for manufacturing as well as business development services," says Mr. Julius Mokogi, the Managing Director. In addition, KIE offers market linkage services to various entrepreneurs in the manufacturing sector. After operating for over 40 years, this model has been vindicated. "We have seen some enterprises supported by our organization grow from micro and small to medium enterprises and large corporate. These include East African Spectre and astermind Tobacco to mention but a few," he adds.

Supporting the MSMEs

The MSME sector plays a pivotal role in Kenya's socio-economic development especially in employment creation. "The 2011 economic survey indicates that almost half a million jobs were created by this sector and it contributed over 20% to our Gross Domestic Product (GDP)," says the Managing Director. In this regard, the Government has rolled out a number of initiatives to support the sector, for instance, the Youth Enterprise Development Fund and the Women Enterprise Fund. In the same vein, a number of policies have been formulated to promote the critical sector. A good example to this end was the enactment of the Microfinance Act in 2005 which has gone a long way in mobilizing finance for small businesses from microfinance institutions.

Incubation

"In simple terms, incubation can be said to be holding the hands of a growing manufacturing enterprise with limited capital, managerial skills and work space among other challenges until it becomes stable," Mr. Mokogi observes. As part of its incubation package, KIE has constructed sheds in various parts of the country which it lets to budding industrialists. It also offers credit to them at a highly competitive rate of 15% on a reducing balance. Moreover, it offers training in business management to entrepreneurs throughout its broad network of 33 branches, besides assisting them to identify markets for their goods. "In each of our branches we have business development officers who train our customers over and above offering them other essential services," he adds.


The officers are dispatched to the field so that they can identify business opportunities for the organization. On the other hand, prospective customers can visit any of their offices when in need of assistance. By interacting with the officers, customers are assisted to come up with business plans. By going through the said plans, any gaps therein are identified and the necessary solutions devised. Such gaps may include inadequate business skills, finance or work space.

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