Women Enterprise Fund (WEF) has partnered with the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) to provide support 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 sh5,800. As a result, their products will qualify for the KEBS Diamond mark of quality which allows them to access local and international markets.
Eng. Charles Mwirigi, CEO Women Enterprise Fund stated that 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.
“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 the agency has disbursed over sh150 million to fund beneficiary businesses in the manufacturing and processing sector since the Fund was set up in 2012. A number expected to increase significantly as the number of SME’s venturing into manufacturing continues to grow.
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 e.g. tiles and bricks making, ventilation blocks, milk processing and welding.
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 program. Participants in the program 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.