Nov 26, 2014

AFRICA’s TIME, 2nd Annual SME Conference

Prof. Gituro addressing entrepreneurs at the conference

AFRICA’s TIME; Accelerating SMEs potential was this year’s theme at the 2nd Annual SMEs Conference which took place on 20th and 21st November, at the Strathmore University Auditorium. The conference organized by Strathmore Enterprise Development Centre (SEDC), sought to educate, inspire and motivate Small and Medium Enterprise (SMEs). The event was attended by many business owners from across the country, with some exhibiting their products and services.


On day one of the conference entrepreneurs learnt about Kenya’s vision 2030, how to prepare children for the business world and important KRA factors to note while running a business.


In his opening remarks, Dean School of Management and Commerce (SMC) Strathmore University, Dr. David Wangombe spoke of the benefits of doing the SEDC trainings and why the conference was beneficial to entrepreneurs. “So far we have trained over 10,000 entrepreneurs through capacity building, there is no doubt we have great entrepreneurs in our country. Our objective with the conference is creating a forum for networking among SMEs,” he said. The Conference objective was to set the pace and determine the direction of entrepreneurship in Africa by:

  • Creating a forum for networking among SMEs and linking them to various enterprise interested organizations and individuals who are value adding.
  • Identifying the various challenges faced by SMEs and opportunities available for them in the market.

Prof. Gituro Wainaina, acting Director General Vision 2030, spoke on the directions entrepreneurs should take from a young age. In his keynote address, the professor urged parents to get children off to the right start from an early age by encouraging; creativity, building job relevance and ensuring children learn businesses from the start. These activities set them apart from a young age.


KRA representative Ms Judith Njagi, acting Chief Manager Domestic Taxes &Small taxpayers Services Nairobi region, spoke on the different kinds of taxes for business owners and the payment details. She highlighted on the fact that entrepreneurs can now pay their taxes through mobile service facilities. “We have mobile service facilities that you can use to pay up to Kshs, 70,000. For persons with disabilities, you qualify for income tax exemption on taxable value to kshs.150,000 per month,” said Ms Njagi.


Day two of the conference involved entrepreneurs learning about the role of the government in promoting SME’s and the use of ICT in marketing businesses.


To start the sessions, Prof Ruth Kiraka, Dean School of Graduates Studies Strathmore University, presented her research paper on gender and enterprise development. Prof. Kiraka took the team through her findings, highlighting the key distinct areas notable to entrepreneurs. “40 to 60% of women own small businesses while business start-ups ranged at 29% for both male and female entrepreneurs.” Prof. Kiraka also noted that women had more difficulties accessing finances from finance intermediaries such as banks compared to men. She advised that the research findings were presented to the government for assessment and implementation of new strategies.


MSEA (Micro and Small Enterprise Authority) is said to be the Key structure/instrument for job creation in the country; this was advised by Mr. Patrick Mwangi acting CEO MSEA, Ministry of Industrialization and Enterprise Development. Mr. Mwangi who was the key guest speaker of the conference in day two said that the government is set to improve on enterprise development in the country, through researches conducted on the same. “From the research presented the government now has better guidance on how to direct the country on Enterprise,” said Mr. Mwangi.


The Director, Center for Intellectual Property and Information Technology (CIPIT) at Strathmore Law School, Dr. Isaac Rutenberg took entrepreneurs through IP facts advising them on the importance of patent. He took the team through stages of business start-ups and advised on the point business owners need to ensure they protect their inventions and innovations. He sensitized on the fact that as the businesses grow and becomes successful, there is high potential of conflict arising. “If you are successful expect conflict, you need to arrange for that, generally involving IP. You need to speak to an expert to establish that you are in the right setup,” he said.


To crown off the day’s presentations, Ms. Agnes Karingo, Director, Research and Awareness, spoke to entrepreneurs on the importance of legit businesses. In her address, Ms. Karingo advised the team to be vigilant ensuring that they are not involved in any counterfeit acts. “If you are found counterfeiting whether through packaging, branding, selling or possessing control of goods/products and services not your own, you will face the law,” she said. Ms. Karingo also took the team through all the functions of their office highlighting on fines/charges offenders face when they conduct offenses at different levels.


All sessions involved a question and answer period, where entrepreneurs took time seek answers and gain more understanding in owning SMEs in the country. Business owners, Mr. James Munyori, Mr. Peter Thuo (Strathmore alumni) and M/s Grace Ndegwa, who have gone through SEDC training programs, took time to advise the entrepreneurs on the importance of attending the trainings and how they benefited in their businesses from the classes.


Each day was crowned with guests and the Strathmore family visiting the exhibition stands, opening doors for networking and sharing of ideas.

Contact Details

Madaraka Estate
Ole Sangale Road, PO Box 59857,
00200 City Square
Nairobi, Kenya
Tel: 0703-034000, 0703-034200