On Wednesday, Kenya’s leading telecommunication provider together with the financial lender launched a platform, [email protected] Smart to meet the needs of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
[email protected] Smart is expected to enable SMEs to scale up their growth and will be done through smart tips on cost management, loyalty programmes and preferential business opportunities.
“There is a couple of things which stop a small business from growing the first is access to finance and the second is that technology is not actually helping to grow it from where they are, it is all very alien. The product brings in accessible ways of some basic things, we are moving away from vice, data and equity access to do things like create your own website. The product will give [SMEs] the websites, build the site and gives them access to affordable finance,” Bob Collymore, CEO at Safaricom told CNBC Africa.
SMEs will be able to pay as little as 500 Kenyan shillings for a website, email addresses and a quick loan to grow their businesses.
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“For us it is to bring in a complete convergence of solution. We are bringing in a mobile money banking for instance for customers we are bringing,” Joshua Oigara, group CEO at KCB told CNBC Africa.
KCB Group will offer SME’s flexible financial products and services like advisory services, KCB SME Banking, competitively-priced KCB SME Loans, insurance, online banking registration, pre-paid cards and credit cards aimed at unlocking entrepreneurs potential.
“The impact [of [email protected] Smart] will be momentous as it will create more jobs, more opportunities and more businesses,” Oigara said.
Safaricom’s propositions that will be offered to the SMEs include Zidisha Biashara, Biashara Smart Classifieds, Biashara Tips and OneConnect Express.
Safaricom has a customer base of 21.5 million customers while KCB has the largest branch network in the Region of 236 branches, 950 ATMs and 8,000 agents and 3 million customers.
SMEs employ up to 80 per cent of the population and contribute about 45 per cent of Kenya’s Gross Domestic Product.