Dec Jan Feb Mar April 2014

Ten years of illuminating SMEs

Ten years ago, the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) sector did not feature prominently in the Kenya’s national psyche. While it was obvious the sector contributed significantly to the economy, particularly in job creation, the government and even the private sector was less concerned at its existence.
This was evident from the fact that the government was less bothered in enacting laws and policies to drive its growth and unleash its full potentials. Besides, commercial banks projected indifference in terms of extending credit to the sector, something that impeded growth of many MSMEs.
But 10 years ago, March 2007 to be specific, SMEs Today set out on a mission of being the voice of MSMEs by propagating their issues, lobbying policy makers to create an environment conducive for their growth and celebrating their successes.  
When the first issue of SMEs Today hit the newsstands, few took notice with the common assumption in the publishing industry being that here is yet another business magazine that has launched with pomp and colour but will soon fold like many others before it.
This perception got credence on the argument that being a publication targeting MSMEs, a neglected sector, advertising support would be non-existent because MSMEs did not have advertising budgets. Besides, they also argued that launching as a monthly publication was utterly over-ambitious.
Unknown to them, the people behind the publication had a mission to redirect MSMEs from the periphery to the high table of the country’s development agenda. Indeed due to this mission, the government, commercial banks and other stakeholders soon started taking notice of the sector.
The results are evident. Top on the list was the decision by the government to enact the Micro and Small Enterprises Act, 2012. The act gave birth to authority whose mandate is to formulate and review policies and programmes, promote and develop MSE sector, monitor and evaluate implementation policies, programmes and activities related to MSE development.
Apart from the government, commercial banks also realized the sector was critical for their growth and one after the other they established departments and sections dedicated to serving the sector. Other institutions have also followed suit coming up with products and services directed at serving the needs of MSMEs.
In the 10 years that SMEs Today magazine has been in the market, consistently producing an issue every month with content specifically designed to scale the heights of businesses, MSMEs have been the key beneficiaries. This is because over the past decade the publication has offered them a platform to propagate their issues.
This March, SMEs Today magazine is celebrating 10 years, a period that has been both exciting and challenging. But despite the changing seasons, we have kept the promise of ensuring that MSMEs are today at the pinnacle of the country’s development. As we embark on the journey of our second decade, we promise to keep the fire of MSMEs burning as we see them grow to large corporations.

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