Ministry of Investments, Trade, and Industry Announces KIEP 250+ Technical Assistance Program to Boost SMEs


Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) are being offered a significant chance to elevate their performance through the Kenya Industry and Entrepreneurship Project (KIEP) 250+ initiative, as announced by the Ministry of Investments, Trade, and Industry. 

The government has unveiled the second application window for SMEs to apply for this project, aimed at enhancing productivity, innovation, and competitiveness within the sector. 

Successful applicants will be eligible for performance-based grant funding, which will play a pivotal role in supporting their business development, refining managerial and technical skills, and facilitating the integration of cutting-edge technology.

Principal Secretary of the State Department for Industry, Dr Juma Mukhwana, highlighted the government’s dedication to inclusivity, ensuring that SMEs from all corners of the country benefit from this initiative, with a minimum of 20% of selected businesses being women-owned. 

“We are now accepting applications for eligible SMEs to participate in KIEP 250+. This project aims to transform SMEs into competitive, world-class entities, thereby boosting Kenya’s manufacturing sector and entrepreneurship landscape,” Dr Mukhwana stated.

KIEP 250+ is a vital component of the Sh5 billion ($50 million) Kenya Industry and Entrepreneurship Project, a collaboration between the government and the World Bank. 

This program provides performance-based grant funding specifically for technical assistance to SMEs, empowering them to unlock their full potential by identifying sustainable growth pathways and receiving guidance from expert business development service providers.

SMEs interested in the program must be legally registered in Kenya, operational for a minimum of two years and possess an annual turnover ranging from Sh50 million to Sh1 billion. 

Additionally, SMEs need to be nominated by a lead firm, financial institution, or business association. 

A management team committed to a performance improvement plan is also a requirement. 

The initiative highly encourages applications from SMEs promoting opportunities for persons living with disabilities (PLWD), youth, and women-led enterprises.

Maarten Susan, leader of the KIEP 250+ team, emphasized, “The Kenyan SME sector has encountered challenges such as low productivity, limited innovation, and disconnects between traditional industries and SMEs. KIEP 250+ addresses these issues by leveraging working capital, technology, and expertise to foster a sustainable innovation ecosystem.”

Participating SMEs will follow a structured process, beginning with identifying areas for improvement and designing performance enhancement plans. 

Subsequently, they will collaborate with chosen business development service providers to implement projects covered by KIEP 250+ financial assistance. 

The entire process is expected to take around 15 to 18 months.

The first cohort of beneficiaries, primarily from the agriculture sector, underwent a comprehensive diagnostic process leading to the formulation of performance improvement plans. 

The second application window aims to onboard more SMEs from diverse sectors, particularly focusing on the government’s Bottom-up Economic Transformation Agenda (BETA) priority areas such as manufacturing, agriculture, housing, healthcare, digital infrastructure, and the creative economy.

Over the project’s four-year timeline, KIEP 250+ aims to facilitate a total of five application rounds, with a target of supporting a minimum of 250 SMEs.

Launched in November 2020, KIEP 250+ stands as a transformative initiative aimed at boosting productivity, encouraging innovation, and fostering market linkages and capacity building within priority sectors.

Eligible SMEs eager to seize this exceptional opportunity can register via: