Access To Finance
All businesses require working capital to operate, to grow and to compete successfully. Promoting access to finance for small and medium-size firms has been on the agenda of Kenya's government. All major commercial banks (Standard Chartered Bank, Equity Bank, Barclays Bank and Family Bank) have branches within Machakos County. Apart from the credit facilities offered by these banks and other financial institutions, some of the opportunities backed by the government and are accessible at the national level, include:
o The Women Enterprise Fund, established in August 2007, provides accessible and affordable credit to support women start and/or expand business for wealth and employment creation.
o The Uwezo Fund that enables women, youth and persons with disability to access finances to promote businesses and enterprises at the constituency level.
o The Youth Enterprise Development Fund which was established to reduce unemployment among the youth aged 18 to 35 years by strategically focusing on enterprise development as a key strategy tool that will increase economic opportunities for, and participation by Kenyan youth in nation building.
o The Machakos County Joint Loans Board Programme which is a loan facility where existing businesses operating in the County can apply for loans from as little as KES 50,000 (500 Dollars) up to a maximum of KES 300,000 (3,000 Dollars)
In February 2009, the Kenya government operationalized Credit Reference Bureaus which complement the central role played by banks and other financial institutions by collecting, managing and disseminating customer information to lenders within a provided regulatory framework. Credit histories not only provide necessary input for credit underwriting, but also allow borrowers to take their credit history from one financial institution to another, thereby making lending markets more competitive and, in the end, more affordable.
Given that credit rights and insolvency regimes are fundamental to a sound investment climate, Kenya has put in place Consumer Protection and Bankruptcy laws that protect the legal rights of the borrower and promote commerce and economic growth.
Using strategic linkages with the Kenya Investment Authority, Kenya Association of Manufacturers, Kenya Private Sector Alliance and the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Machakos IPB can provide assistance in protecting the rights of investors and help secure credit for investment within the county.