But one wonders; why do some businesses die while others sail through? The answer lies in change. They say change is inevitable.
Being an entrepreneur in Kenya is not a walk in the park. In fact, some say that it should be added to one of the biggest causes of depression among the Kenyan majority. The journey needs one to have a thick skin in order to survive.
There is no doubt that Kenya thrives on the wheels of entrepreneurship; employing about 86 percent of the population and contributing about 45.5 percent to GDP. With such great importance, one would expect it to be the most thriving sector.
With learning institutions releasing graduates into the job market each year, and with the employment rate in the formal sector being at less than 3 percent, entrepreneurship, sometimes referred to as SME, becomes the only option.
The entrepreneurial field in Kenya is flooded with almost everyone trying a hand in something. It is like an ocean with different types of fish fighting over limited resources. Some die, and some survive. Those who survive have a way of doing it.
In Kenya, it is estimated that at least 450,000 entrepreneurs close down businesses each year. Since COVID-19, it is estimated that around 1,000,000 of them shut down their businesses, and a similar number losing their formal employment.
But one wonders; why do some businesses die while others sail through? The answer lies in change. They say change is inevitable. It keeps on changing. If one can’t change with changing times, change changes them. That is the difference.
Although COVID-19 has come with so many challenges for entrepreneurs, not only in Kenya but around the world too, it has made individuals and organizations realize the power of technology and digital skills. Without the skills, all businesses would have been wiped out.
The pandemic made people realize that you do not need to sit at your shop waiting for customers and customers realized that they do not need to leave the house to purchase goods and services.
The pandemic saw many businesses in Kenya and beyond embracing digital skills and moving to online platforms. Those that resisted that change had no business of remaining into the business. They shut down.
Inadequate capital and access to markets is another major challenge for Kenyan entrepreneurs. Most lenders rarely led to SMEs because most of them are at a high risk of defaulting. Having digital skills cuts off most of the avenues that lead to loss of funds and increase efficiency.
Stanbic Bank Kenya, through the Stanbic Foundation, has partnered with Microsoft and the Ministry of Industrialization for a program that will see over 50,000 entrepreneurs equipped with digital skills.
The bank says the program will be rolled out in various counties across the country and is aimed at strengthening the digital footprints that Kenya has always strived to put down.