Microsoft today launched an online hub for Kenyan small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to access locally relevant information and resources to promote SMEs and improve trade.
Dubbed Biz4Afrika, the portal is aimed at helping SME’s get the resources they need and as well connect with the community of entrepreneurs that will have a meaningful impact on job creation, global competitiveness and wealth creation in the long run. Biz4Afrika is part of Microsoft 4Afrika’s iniative and will be rolled out in other countries steadily.
Delivering a keynote at the annual Connected Kenya conference, Kunle Awosika, Country Manager of Microsoft Kenya- the title sponsor of the Summit, focused on the importance of the SME sector to boost intra-African trade. “
“The Biz4Afrika.co.ke online hub aims to meet the needs of every Start-up, Small Business and Medium-sized enterprise at three entry points; the start, growth and acceleration phase by aggregating freemium offers and relevant online services, complimented by valuable information, resources and learnings in one place” Says Kunle.
SME’s will have access to some of Biz4Afrika services for free while pay for more advanced features. Microsoft says this will enable SMEs to become familiar with pay-as-you-go services that help entrepreneurs maximise their productivity while minimising their costs. SMEs can also join the hub as service providers to other businesses, thereby building a pipeline of potential clients. In the past year alone, Microsoft has seen 150,000 SMEs go online across Africa to offer, and to consume ICT services.
Microsoft has launched several programmes targeted towards the development of SMEs across the continent including BizSpark, e-commerce portal in partnership with Skrill, and Africa’s first Intellectual Property Hub in Kenya to help entrepreneurs protect and monetise their innovations.
Kenya’s Vision 2030 defines the economic growth of the small and medium enterprise (SME) sector as a major driver of social development, youth employability and a key lever in the enhancement of the country’s global competitiveness. However, due to various challenges, majority SMEs close their doors within the first year.
Microsoft aims to see SME’s use the portal to start, grow and accelerate. The start section is aimed at SME’s at idea stage or those that want to begin, while grow and accelerate sections are aimed at middle stage-to growth stage SME’s respectively.