unctad.org | UNCTAD Deputy Secretary-General meets first Kenyan graduates of entrepreneurship training course
UNCTAD Deputy Secretary-General meets first Kenyan graduates of entrepreneurship training course
26 January 2018
Flag of Kenya
Women business-owners who are among the first to complete UNCTAD’s Empretec programme in Kenya have been congratulated by UNCTAD Deputy Secretary-General Isabelle Durant.

About 30 women entrepreneurs in the fields of agriculture, construction and transport who are among the first graduates of UNCTAD’s Empretec entrepreneurship training programme in Kenya were congratulated by UNCTAD Deputy Secretary-General Isabelle Durant in Nairobi this week.

The meeting followed onsite visits by Ms. Durant to enterprises in the Kenyan capital whose owners have benefitted from Empretec training since it was launched in partnership with the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry in July 2017.

“I was fascinated to meet with these dynamic and creative women entrepreneurs and witness very promising examples of the concrete impact of the Empretec initiative,” Ms. Durant said.

Ms. Durant visited Pamat Foods, a company making healthy, organic flours from sweet potato, aramanth, pumpkin, butternut squash, cassava, arrowroot and especially bananas, to meet its director Pauline Mwangi.

Ms. Mwangi has developed a business model buying surplus bananas from local producers and transforming them into flour for porridge, desserts and pastries.

Empretec programme in Kenya
Going bananas

With a supply that lasts around the year, the bananas are dried, milled and packed while what’s left can be used to make jams and wine.

Ms. Mwangi has provided jobs for a team of 20 workers but now, thanks to Empretec training, looks forward to setting objectives, developing a business plan, and looking for funds to buy more equipment.

She has also worked with Empretec trainers on a marketing plan and how to best sell her products to local markets.

Ms. Durant next visited Kamaldeep Sandhu, of hair and beauty venture Styles of Tomorrow. Specially designed for families and children, Styles of Tomorrow now employs 12 people and Ms. Sandhu has been able to develop and improve her business model as a result of Empretec training.

In Kenya, small and medium-sized enterprises play a key role in economic development, contributing 33.8% of GDP and 81.1% of employment opportunities, according to a 2016 survey. However, 98% of businesses in Kenya are estimated to be in the informal sector, with most run by young people aged between 18-35 and women.

“We thank UNCTAD for the opportunity and support to establish an Empretec Centre in Kenya,” Minister of Industry, Trade and Cooperatives Adan Mohamed said when Empretec was launched in 2017. “We foresee graduation of many [small and medium-sized enterprises] from informal to formal enterprises. This will be good for the country.”

UNCTAD’s Empretec entrepreneurship programme was launched in Argentina in 1988 and has since expanded to 40 developing countries. In cooperation with local counterparts, the programme has assisted 420,000 entrepreneurs through local market-driven Empretec centres.


Please wait....