GEN to Unleash Additional $100 Million to Support Entrepreneurs in 160 Countries

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The Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN) announced yesterday that 160 countries will celebrate Global Entrepreneurship Week this November – with nearly 10 million people expected to participate in 30,000 events and competitions. The local, national and global efforts unleash another estimated $100 million to help entrepreneurs launch new startups while creating innovations that can change the world.

The new figure adds to the original $100 million commitment GEN made last year during Global Entrepreneurship Week and was recognized by the White House at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Nairobi last weekend.

Founded in 2008 by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, Global Entrepreneurship Week – which runs this year from Nov. 16-22 – has provided a platform that is creating one global entrepreneurial ecosystem.

"Interest in startups and entrepreneurship continues to grow in all parts of the world," said Jonathan Ortmans, president of the Global Entrepreneurship Network. "Global Entrepreneurship Week provides a shot of adrenaline at one concentrated moment to help provide nascent entrepreneurs with access to research, programs and network they need to maximize their potential."

Read more: GEN to Unleash Additional $100 Million to Support Entrepreneurs in 160 Countries

Cost of Power to Reduce

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Electricity generating company KenGen has assured Kenyans that the cost of electricity will drop further in the coming months.

This is after the firm injects an extra 511 megawatts of geothermal power into the national grid in the coming year.

KenGen Chairman Joshua Choge said extra megawatts will lift Kenya's global ranking from the eighth largest producer of geothermal energy to the top five leading countries.

Mr Choge said the country's installed steam power capacity now stands at 579MW, ahead of giant economies such as Japan, Russia and China.

He spoke on Saturday during the handing over of three fully equipped classrooms at Oloirowua Primary School and Olosingate livestock water pan in Suswa, in Narok East sub-county.

Read more: Cost of Power to Reduce

Kenya To Tap Full Potential of AGOA

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Kenya could increase 50 per cent its exports to the United States under the African Growth and Opportunity Act, (Agoa) according to a US-backed trade plan seen by the Nation.

The study initiated last year seeks to enable East African Community member states including Kenya, better utilise the trade platform.

EXISTING BUSINESSES

As part of the plan, US businesses will invest about Sh10.2 billion in existing or new businesses in EAC countries in the next four years in what is expected to lead to the creation of 10,000 jobs in the region.

"We are looking at increasing exports from the region to the US under Agoa by 50 per cent. We are also looking to bring in 100 million US dollars in new investments to the region, which will create about 10,000 new jobs," said Agoa Trade Advisor, USAid East Africa Trade Hub, Mr Finn Holm-Olsen. Mr Olsen spoke in Nairobi on Monday on the sidelines of a capacity building forum targeting SMEs, organised by the Industrialisation ministry.

Read more: Kenya To Tap Full Potential of AGOA

Small Businesses Get Help to Tap American Market

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Major plans are underway to boost the capacity of micro, small and medium-sized enterprise players to enable them leverage on the African Growth and Opportunities Act (Agoa) through exports to the US market.

Experts say that despite the recent Agoa Extension and Enhancement Act of 2015, giving Kenya the opportunity to increase its trade volumes with the US, the country has failed to reach its potential.

In 2013, Kenya exported Sh4.47 billion worth of textiles and apparel, Sh100 million worth of leather, and Sh8.9 billion worth of vegetable and food products to the US.

"While this is encouraging, it leaves room for improvement. Kenya plans on increasing the annual exports margins from about $500 million to $1 billion by the time the extension is ending in 10 years (renewable)," says Industrialisation Cabinet Secretary Adan Mohamed.

Read more: Small Businesses Get Help to Tap American Market

Number of Companies Registered in Kenya Increases by 53%

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Companies registered in Kenya over the last five years have more than doubled, signaling an improving business environment.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) using data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) found that registration of companies in Kenya has increased by 52.9 percent over the period.

Joseph Maina of IMF said this indicated a significant transition of informal institutions into more formal ones.

"This means the environment is becoming conducive for institutions to register. There are incentives that the Government is giving," said Mr Maina.

Read more: Number of Companies Registered in Kenya Increases by 53%

Africa Shows Great Improvement in Regulatory Reform

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The report, which ranks the ease of doing business, showed that Africa is leading the way in regulatory reform, while the BRICS economies are also becoming freer for business

The World Bank's annual Doing Business report, which attempts to provide a measure the costs to firms of business regulations spread over the world's 185 countries, has been released for 2015. Through the use of a number of metrics such as red tape around starting a new business, construction permits, property laws, credit access, investment protection, taxes rates, the ease of cross border transaction, contract enforcement and access to electricity, among others.

In the 2015 report it was found that out of the 185 countries measured, in 122 of these, entrepreneurs said that they had seen improvements in their local regulatory framework from the following on from the previous year. The top ten countries to see improvements in business regulations were Costa Rica, Uganda, Kenya, Cyprus, Mauritania, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Jamaica, Senegal and Benin. Collectively, these states instituted 39 regulatory reforms easing the ability to do business.

Roughly 30 percent regulatory reforms easing burdens on business activity came from sub-Saharan Africa. According to the World Bank report, "Members of the Organization for the Harmonization of Business Law in Africa were particularly active: 14 of the 17 economies implemented business regulation reforms in the past year—29 in total. Twenty-four of these reforms reduced the complexity and cost of regulatory processes, while the other five strengthened legal institutions."

Despite various fears of political instability, economic nationalism and financial instability in BRICS category countries most saw an improvement in the rankings. Russia, China, India and Brazil all saw their ease of doing business deemed to have improved. India saw the biggest improvement, rising to 130th in the index – a 12 place improvement from last year. At the same time South Africa's position slipped 30 places, although maintained at 73, second only to Russia at 51, among the BRICS.

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New dawn as Kenya rises to 3rd most Reformed Country on Doing Business

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For the first time in nearly 10 years, Kenya's economic prospects have received a shot in the arm following confirmation by World Bank's Doing Business 2016 as the 3rd most reformed country globally.

In news heralding good tidings for Kenya's local entrepreneurs and investment climate, Kenya has risen 21 places to 108th from the 129th it attained last year, incredibly cementing its status as among the most improved African country globally.

The report finds that Kenya has implemented at least four regulatory reforms in each indicator aimed at making it easier for local entrepreneurs to do business in the country in 2015/16, a higher percentage than any other country in any other region.

It is the first time Kenya's position has improved since its downward spiral from its 71st position in 2006 following the post-election crisis, a vindication of the quality of reforms instituted by the Kenyan government keen to meet its top 50 ranking ambition by 2020.

Read more: New dawn as Kenya rises to 3rd most Reformed Country on Doing Business

Kenya launches Priority Manufacturing Sector Reports to Stimulate Kenya’s Economy

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The Ministry of Industrialization and Entreprise Development in partnership with World Bank and manufacturing sector stakeholders have today launched the Priority Manufacturing sector, value chain reports to stimulate Kenya's economy.

The reports show that the performance of the timber-furniture, textile-apparel, and leather and leather products value chains in Kenya are significant to the country's job and wealth creation.

The reports provide an updated and comprehensive analysis of competitiveness for these key manufacturing sectors in Kenya and offer suggestions strategies and policies to accelerate their growth and increase the productivity and innovation of Kenyan firms in them.

According to Cabinet Sectary for Industrialization Adan Mohamed, the launch of the value chain reports provides is in tandem to the realization of Kenya's Industrial Transformation Programme and Kenya's Vision 2030.

Read more: Kenya launches Priority Manufacturing Sector Reports to Stimulate Kenya’s Economy

US Firms Set Aside $4 Billion For Business In Kenya In Lead Up To High Profile Investment Conference

INVESTORS-CONFERENCE

A number of high level US investors are expected to attend the upcoming Kenya International Investment Conference (KIICO) on 23rd-25th November, 2015 in Nairobi, following September's US Business Council for International Understanding meeting in New York, which resulted in $4 billion being set aside by US firms for business in Kenya.

The move comes following President Obama's homecoming visit to Kenya in July 2015 and as over 90 US companies currently explore business opportunities in the East African country; which boasts strong economic fundamentals, and the region's largest GDP.

Arranged in collaboration with the East Africa Trade and Investment Hub – a flagship project under the presidential Trade Africa initiative – KIICO will highlight current investment opportunities across focus sectors of US interest, including agribusiness, ICT, apparels & textiles, leather and renewable energy sectors.

Speaking at the KIICO 2015 launch, Phyllis Kandie, Cabinet Secretary of the Ministry of East African Affairs, Commerce and Tourism, said:

"Kenya is a model investment destination for global firms, and we are committed to working with US companies eager to grow and expand their business in East Africa. In recent years, we have facilitated significant growth in US interest in doing business in Kenya, with senior government level commitments to further developing bi-lateral trade and investment ties between our two nations. This year's KIICO is set to showcase the scale of opportunity on offer to Americans in one of Africa's fastest growing economies."

Read more: US Firms Set Aside $4 Billion For Business In Kenya In Lead Up To High Profile Investment Conference

60 Agribusiness Competition Finalists in Nairobi for Training

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Sixty finalists of the Young Innovators in Agribusiness 2015 competition from across Africa are in Nairobi for a two-day mentoring session at the Toyota Academy.

The successful participants were picked from 800 applicants after their start-up businesses were identified as major solutions to creating useful links and value addition along the various agricultural value chains in their respective countries.

They are part of the entrants in the second edition of the agribusiness incubating competition dubbed "Young Innovators in Agribusiness Competition" that attracts youth aged between 18-35 years. 

Read more: 60 Agribusiness Competition Finalists in Nairobi for Training

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