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A new partnership seeking to support Kenyan Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) has been unveiled.

The collaboration brings together Strathmore University Business School (SBS) and the International Trade Centre (ITC). This initiative is designed to catalyze digital trade opportunities for Kenyan Businesses.

The collaboration will equip Kenyan Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) with essential skills, tools, and knowledge to harness the power of e-commerce, thereby expanding their market reach and opportunities.

With funding from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), SBS is implementing the USAID Strategic Partnership Program, which is spearheading the empowerment of MSMEs through one of its projects, Kenya Small Business Development Centers (Kenya SBDC).

“This strategic alliance empowers MSMEs in Kenya and underscores a mutual dedication to strengthening economic growth and facilitating job creation and regional market expansion,” a statement on the partnership said.

Leveraging best practices from the U.S. SBDC model, this initiative provides advisory services, training, and facilitation of access to markets and finance for MSMEs in six counties (Mombasa, Nakuru, Kiambu, Kisumu, Makueni, and Isiolo).

Under ITC’s Digital Moonshot and the European Union (EU) -East African Community (EAC) Market Access Upgrade Programme (MARKUP II), ITC is empowering micro, small and medium-sized enterprises to sell online through its personalized learning program, technical assistance, digital tools and innovative solutions, together with local and international partners.

Building upon the success of the SBDC project, Strathmore University Business School has formalized its collaboration with the International Trade Centre (ITC), the joint technical cooperation agency of the World Trade Organization and the United Nations, through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to establish an SBDC Digital Trade Hub in six countries.

“The primary objective of these hubs is to empower Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) with the essential skills and knowledge required to access new markets through e-commerce,” the joint statement added.

The SBDC Digital Trade Hubs will serve as a comprehensive resource for MSMEs, offering a blend of online and offline support. Leveraging ITC’s ecomConnect Learning Programme, the hubs will provide access to a wide range of e-commerce training materials and resources.

Additionally, MSMEs will benefit from in-person coaching and training sessions, further enhancing their proficiency in utilizing e-commerce sales channels.

Furthermore, SBS and ITC are strategically planning to collaborate with other key e-commerce stakeholders in Kenya.

These partnerships aim to extend additional capacity building and support to MSMEs, fostering an environment conducive to leveraging e-commerce for sustainable business growth.

SBS and ITC’s partnership marks a significant step toward inclusive and sustainable economic development in Kenya.

The two institutions are poised to make a meaningful impact on the lives of MSMEs and communities across the country.