Yesterday, KEPSA (Kenya Private Sector Alliance) in partnership with the Irish Embassy co-hosted a mentorship breakfast meeting at the Panafric Hotel in Nairobi seeking to empower Women in Business with a focus on SME’s and start-ups.
Following introductions from KEPSA Deputy CEO Rachel Muthoga and Irish Charge d’Affaires Lisa Doherty, a discussion on “Defying social expectations and struggling to be taken seriously within the business arena – Telling the Story of Successful Entrepreneurs” took place moderated by KEPSA Gender Sector Board Chair, Eva Muraya.
Taking part in the panel were Flora Muthai (Melvin’s Tea founder and CEO), Rose Lumumba (advocate and founding member of the Women on Boards Network and IFC Corporate Governance Officer), Winnie Ngumi (Space and Style Managing Director) and Gatwiri Kirimi (INFORPARTS Ltd Managing Director).
This mentorship breakfast meeting sought to inspire and inform women in business, share examples of successes and help them grow and learn from outside perspectives and experiences shared.
Female entrepreneurship has been recognized as an important source of economic growth, creating new jobs for women and others while also providing society with different solutions for management, organization and business problems.
In her opening remarks, Ms Muthoga said: “I would like to applaud the Irish Embassy’s commitment in women’s agenda in Kenya and Africa at large.
“Presided by the MoU we signed in March 2018, our partnership focus is on promoting economic development of Kenya and enhance trade linkages between the two countries,” she added.
The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) she referred to was signed on 15 March last year between the Embassy of Ireland and KEPSA to promote the economic development of Kenya and enhance trade linkages between Kenya and Ireland.
The MOU sets out the commitment to establish new partnerships between Irish and Kenyan private sector companies, support KEPSA to implement mutually beneficial programmes, partnership and collaboration that advance the interest of KEPSA members, and develop a joint programme of work on support to women in business in Kenya.
Kenya has increasingly become an important destination for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and trade. The biggest concern for many FDI entities is finding the right local partners or right opportunities. At the same time, many local businesses are in need of international equity and/or debt partners, but finding the right partners overseas is a challenging matter.
Furthermore, while support for female entrepreneurs has been growing in recent years in Kenya, a number of significant barriers and obstacles continue to exist such as red tape, lack of market information, lack of access to finance, use of inferior technology and inadequate information on regional and international market access.
KEPSA’s Business Hub seeks to provide the right platform to connect companies, provide advisory services and facilitation to Kenyan SMEs, including those that are led by women, and to promote greater trade and investment in Kenya. It also aims to develop a credible B2B function at KEPSA that can be the source of trusted and verified business contacts and partnerships for local and international investors in Kenya.