The Impact Story of Business Development Training on Small and Medium Enterprises in the Coastal Region
On a cool evening in August 2013, Mary Akumu, a devoted housewife and a mother received a phone call from a lady who identified herself as Mercy Mwali from KCDP – Taveta informing her that her self-help group – Marasimio Enterprise had been selected to participate in an entrepreneurship training program.
It is at this juncture that her life would soon take an entrepreneurial leap from informal small group projects into a thriving formal business. Mary is one of beneficiaries of the business plan development training program for small and micro enterprises facilitated by Strathmore Business School.
Through a partnership with the World Bank; Kenya Coastal Development Program (KCDP), Coast Development Authority and Strathmore Business School have been offering entrepreneurial training and mentorship to approximately 600 micro and small entrepreneurs drawn from the six counties located in the coastal region: Kilifi, Mombasa, Kwale, Taita Taveta, Lamu and Tana River.
The objective of the Kenya Coastal Development Program is to promote environmentally sustainable management of Kenya’s coastal and marine resources by strengthening the capacity of existing relevant government agencies for instance, Coast Development Authority, by enhancing the capacity of rural micro, small and medium sized enterprises in selected coastal communities.
Like many other community members around her locale, Mary had tried her luck in agribusiness; producing maize for commercial purposes to supplement her family’s income. However, the hurdles of accessing financing and rampant theft of her produce, eventually overwhelmed the profitability of the business.
She noted with great enthusiasm the significant role the training had played in exposing her to numerous and viable business ventures; recalling that topics such as record- keeping, loan management and identification of niche markets were insightful in making her knowledgeable on how to run profitable and sustainable businesses. She affirmed that before the training, she did not have the confidence to venture out into unknown business territories.
Mary is currently a poultry farmer, a venture her and her group members arrived at after observing the supply and demand waves of poultry products around their home town. Through a government project dubbed “Njaa Marufuku”, the group accessed funding of Ksh. 150,000 in September the same year, enabling them to purchase 100 indigenous chicken, with each member acquiring 10.
Mary’s chicken soon increased in number totaling to 318. Her first order, placed for the supply of 650 chicken was an intriguing challenge, which she navigated skillfully. Building the confidence of her clients, her second supply order was revolutionary! She got an order to supply 2,741 chicken from bidders who were not able to fulfil their orders; a capacity she hardly had the volume to meet. As she was still ruminating on how to meet this order, she was called for the second KCDP training session. Like “quenching thirst after a hot and dry spell” the training sessions could not have come at a more opportune moment. She leant about marketing strategies, sales and distribution among other edifying topics, projecting her along the path of honoring the placed order.
As she sourced for chicken across the coastal region; from Kilifi to Malindi, her business grew, birthing the idea to start her own hatchery. She bought an incubator that could hatch 1,584 chicks at a go.
Courtesy of the training, Mary has transformed her business and her family’s wellbeing. Managing her business operations professionally; she records all her transactions, makes good use of debt financing and even makes use of Facebook as a marketing tool for her products. Enhancing the social good of her business, Mary provides employment to the youth and in addition, she brings up adopted children from less fortunate backgrounds.
She aspires to build a bigger poultry house and hence expand her business to even supply to international markets, targeting a capacity of hatching 10,000 chicks a day. She encourages women to be proactive in pursuing entrepreneurship, regardless of how much the capital at hand can finance.
* The Micro and Small Enterprises (MSE) Act 2012, defines SME’s follows: Enterprises with a turnover of Kshs. 500,000 or below and employing not more than 10 people as ‘micro enterprises’ while those whose turnover exceeds KShs 500,000 and less than KShs 5m annually, and employing between 10 and 15 people, are classified as ‘small businesses.’
Click here for more information about the World Bank funded, Kenya Coastal Development Program.