Women Enterprise Fund (WEF) has partnered with 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.
So far, the partnership has seen over 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 the KEBS Diamond mark of quality which allows them to access local and international markets.
As a result of the partnership the agency has so far disbursed over Ksh.150 million to fund beneficiary businesses in the manufacturing and processing sector. This number is expected to increase significantly as the number of SME’s venturing into manufacturing continues to grow.
The funding for the businesses 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 and bricks, ventilation blocks, milk processing and welding.
According to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, women and youth comprise over 70% of our Kenya’s population but despite this, they have continued to face enormous and varied challenges in their pursuit for social economic empowerment. It is through these partnerships that WEF will not only increase their chances of accessing credit for starting or expanding their businesses as well as building their capacity to run their businesses in order to increase their chances for success.
Eng. Charles Mwirigi, CEO Women Enterprise Fund, had this to say, “A key mandate for WEF is to provide business support services including linkages for the women entrepreneurs to improve on the quality of their products and access markets. This was one of several strategic partnerships we have entered into to support our beneficiaries.”