Various actors in the Kenyan startups an SME scene have come together to form a body that will support the development and growth of startups and SMEs in Kenya.
The Association of Startups and SMEs enablers of Kenya (Assek) brings together accelerators, innovation and incubation centers, co-working spaces and business support centers who are active in the Kenyan ecosystem but also incorporates advisory firms, donors, investors, the government and foreign missions all with the aim of promoting entrepreneurial economic breakthrough of our Country.
Speaking during the official launch of the association, Assek chairperson Bernard Chiira said that over 75 per cent of Kenyan SMEs collapse within three years of starting due to lack of support and infrastructure challenges.
“The association’s objective is to create a platform that will drive policy and agenda for members of the association with the government, development partners, investors and other key stakeholders to develop rigorous ecosystem standards and guidelines,” he said.
“We not only want to help entrepreneurs start, but we also want them to achieve their full potential. When startups succeed, they become the angel investors who channel capital back into the ecosystem.”
According to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KEBS), SMEs contribute to over 35 per cent of Kenya’s GDP and employs over 30 per cent of the population in 98 per cent of all registered businesses.
The primary objectives of Assek will be to promote and position the Kenyan entrepreneurial ecosystem internationally, facilitate capacity building, ease the sharing of information, knowledge and best practices between the members and promote access to opportunities through collaborations and partnerships.
During the launch, the association signed an MoU with the Finnish embassy aimed at promoting and facilitating Kenyan member access to various opportunities internationally.