Women Enterprise Fund (WEF) is collaborating with the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) and other organizations to provide support for women running small and medium-sized business to standardize and improve the quality of their products.
The partnerships has seen 13,500 beneficiaries trained by WEF receive technical guidance to improve their products ensuring they meet industry standards.
Once the products are standardized, the women are eligible to apply for certification, which the fund pays a subsidized rate of Kshs.5, 800. As a result, their products will qualify for KEBS Diamond mark of quality which allows them to access local and international markets.
“A key mandate for WEF is to provide business support services including linkages for women entrepreneurs to improve on the quality of their products and access markets. This is one of the several strategic partnerships that we have entered into so as to support our beneficiaries,” said Charles Mwirigi, the chief executive officer, WEF.
“Over the last 5 years, our beneficiaries have benefited from this partnership which has enabled them to improve their products to industry standards. This includes handling, product quality, packaging and preservation,” added Eng Mwirigi. As a result of the partnership, WEF has disbursed over Kshs.150 million to businesses in the manufacturing and processing sector since it was set up in 2012.
The funding cuts across numerous ventures including vegetable oil processing, soap and detergents making, water purification and bottling, yoghurt processing, aquarium making for sale, honey processing, making of hides and skins products, processing of horticultural produce, making of construction materials like tiles, bricks and ventilation blocks as well as milk processing and welding.
WEF has also partnered with other organizations including Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture to support women enterprises and start-ups with the guidance needed for them to scale up.
These revelations come as data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics indicates that women and youth comprise over 70% of Kenya’s population. Despite this, they have continued to face enormous and varied challenges in their pursuit for social economic empowerment.
Earlier in the year, WEF and Coca-Cola Central, East and West Africa Limited (CEWA Ltd) announced that a further 285,000 Kenyan women will be empowered in their joint economic empowerment programme. Participants in the programme receive business skills training, financial services, as well as access to peer networks through a business club for mentoring and ideas sharing. In 2018, the initiative empowered 161,000 Kenyan women.