The Women Enterprise Fund (WEF) has announced that it will provide 200,000 women across Kenya with entrepreneurship training and access to capital investment by the end of the year.
WEF CEO Engineer Charles Mwirigi says that the programme’s beneficiaries will be from all the 47 counties where they target one million women to undertake the training.
Speaking during the commissioning of 36 new trainers under the fund, Mwirigi said that the group has successfully completed a weeklong training of the trainers who will be deployed across the country. This comes as a scale up to the current 290 trainers that will help the Fund achieve its set target before the year ends.
The training is part of a joint economic empowerment programme between WEF and Coca-Cola Central, East and West Africa Ltd’s 5by20 initiative.
From Coca-Cola’s perspective, women form a central pillar of its sustainability agenda which is linked to their 5by20 effort to economically empower five million women globally by 2020.
In Kenya, the partnership targets to empower one million women. The programme is rooted in the two institutions’ shared interest in creating a conducive environment that enables women build sustainable businesses.
In 2019, 161,415 women benefitted from the training, bringing the total number of beneficiaries supported through this partnership that was established in 2014 to 718,550.
The programme aims to address and remove barriers that women may experience in creating economic opportunities.
Participants receive business skills training, access to financial services and business club mentoring.
“Entrepreneurship training helps sustain businesses especially in the SME sector where 80 per cent of them do not survive beyond three years. It is our priority, therefore, to reduce this through capital and knowledge investment,” said WEF Head of SME Training Collins Okoth.
According to Homabay County Trainer, Jaspers Gadafi, the ongoing training of trainers’ workshop helps equip them with knowledge plus skills to help women make informed decisions besides realizing their self-worth.
Business Plan Development
During the one week training, the 36 trainers, the majority being youths under the age of 30 were equipped with techniques and methodologies for conducting an effective training, particularly for adult learners, on the policy and structures of WEF, and a practical appreciation of the WEF manual which covers record-keeping skills, marketing and promotion of businesses, financial literacy, business plan development among other skills.
“When you empower a woman you empower a nation, I believe this training will help me endow women from my county who heavily rely on agriculture to maximize their potential,” said Kericho County Trainer Tabitha Chepchirchir.
Since its inception, WEF has been able to train up to 1,319,660 million women to run successful businesses and disbursed in excess of Ksh 17 billion in loans to women-run enterprises.
For Kenyan women, finding credit is not easy since most lenders always ask for collateral locking out the majority of borrowers.
But things are looking up with some financial institutions coming up with ways of going around some of the obstacles that women in business face.
Credit Bank, for example, is working with several local and international partners to make access to credit easier by de-risking the SMEs.
According to Credit Bank CEO Betty Korir, “We achieve this by looking at various players in the trade transaction and we get a way of assessing the counterparty.”
With such an arrangement, women in business need not fear for the opportunities will keep unlocking.
WEF’s training will help women maximise their opportunities and outputs by learning the practices that enable businesses to thrive.