Banks have been urged to support Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs) in their business endeavours. Speaking at the launch of the Stawi digital credit facility in Nairobi on Wednesday, President Uhuru Kenyatta urged banks to support small bsuinesses, which are the country’s greatest employers of youths compared to the big companies. He urged banks and lenders to do away with the ‘high-risk’ tag used to restrict lending to startups and businesses, “Let us become realistic in how we do our things, when you say high risk, what is high risk?” he posed, “It is better for you to find mechanisms and ways to lend to those young men and women who are interested in making something positive of their lives…because if they are positively engaged, if they become part of our economic prosperity, even your business is secure,” he affirmed.
He said those in the business sector must support each other, given that the growth of the small businesses equates to the growth of the big businesses, “If you want to sit in your ivory tower, saying that you are waiting for the government bond, deposit some money, then go to sleep and play golf, you’ll go an find people tending their cattle and relaxing there. I don’t know what youl’ll do because you are the one who never supported the young people to get jobs.”
He said the Stawi credit program was as a result of concerns and subsequent talks involving banks, in order to help SMEs. “We sat down and acknowledged the fact that our economy depends on small businesses,” he said. He added that there are more tha 7 million small businesses, and urged banks to reach out to them and ensure they access loans that can help them nurture their business operations. The Stawi loan app offers financing to SMEs, and it’s a partnership by five Kenyan banks.