KCB to set aside Sh1bn for Kenyan start-ups

KCB has pledged Sh1 billion to fund start-ups following calls for financial institutions to match the government’s allocation to several entrepreneur seed funds.

Chief executive Joshua Oigara made the announcement when he moderated an entrepreneurship panel discussion at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC), Friday.

“I believe in investing and we will, as an organisation, commit Sh1 billion to the Enterprise Kenya fund,” he said.

This is a national body set up in March this year meant to help fund and support innovation among ICT start-ups. At its launch Cabinet Secretary for Information, Communication and Technology Dr. Fred Matiang’i said the body would set up an equity fund to support innovators.

Other recent bodies created to drive development in this area include the ICT Authority, which provides regulation, and the newly created Presidential Digital Talent programme aimed at training the youth in ICT.

In his budget speech last month, Treasury secretary Henry Rotich allocated Sh1 billion to Enterprise Kenya, Sh850 million to the Uwezo Fund, Sh500 million to the Women’s Enterprise Fund and S00 million to the Youth Enterprise Development Fund.

Deputy President William Ruto, who was one of the panelists, challenged banks to find a new model that does not require asset collateral to lend to start-ups. He added that they need to take a risk with ideas.

“I really want to persuade the private sector to match the money we’ve put in as government,” he said. “They need to remodel their financing model so that they cannot do the traditional thing of asking for land security.”

Mr Oigara did not give details on when the money would be available for budding entrepreneurs and at what rates it would be lent out.