About 113 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) have benefited from the Competitiveness and Job Creation Project by the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism through business matching linkages.
Through the project, SMEs access grants to improve their businesses. This means that if an SME wants to purchase equipment, government provides half of the cost with the other half covered by the SME.
In an interview ,Competitiveness and Job Creation Support Project coordinator Esther Mwimba said the project has transformed SMEs by improving their capacity.
“Since this project started, we have managed to assist 113 individual SMEs, micro finance institutions, 20 cooperative groups and we have constructed 27 warehouses for cooperative groups.
“We do not necessarily provide cash directly to the SMEs, but technical assistance in form of matching grants which is normally 50-50,” she said.
Mwimba said the criteria for choosing beneficiaries is rigorous and most of the SMEs which have benefited have increased production and created jobs.
“For example, if a company wants to buy equipment worth K1 million and it only has K500 000, we pay the other half to the supplier,” she said.
Small and Medium Enterprise Development Institute (Smedi) public relations officer Mian Mpesi said the project has transformed SMEs as they now own equipment which they could not purchase on their own.
“We have seen businesses grow,” she said, adding that despite the project ending this year, there is hope that new financiers will be found. n