A report published by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) today highlights the barriers that women-owned businesses in Kenya face when it comes to securing deals with large companies. The report themed, Sourcing2Equal Kenya: Barriers and Approaches to Increase Access to Markets for Women-Owned Businesses, recommends ways banks and major corporations can improve their support for women-owned businesses in the country.
Researchers interviewed 14 Kenyan corporations and discovered that women-owned firms receive just 3% of their overall procurement budget and that women entrepreneurs are primarily found in low-value industries like catering, printing, and cleaning.
As a way out, the IFC urges corporations to partner with financial institutions to increase the access of women-led businesses to working capital, implement supplier development initiatives, increase outreach to women-owned businesses, and advertise tender opportunities on digital platforms.
Amena Arif, IFC’s Country Manager for Kenya, said “For large companies, there is a business case for contracting with women-owned small and medium enterprises. A diversified supplier base is key to reducing the risk of supply chain disruptions and procurement costs.”
The IFC has also launched the Sourcing2Equal Kenya Programme, which aims to promote gender-inclusive sourcing in the private sector and expand women’s access to procurement contracts.
The initiative will support ten corporations in boosting their sourcing from women-owned businesses and enhance the capacity of 1,300 women-led small enterprises to become procurement ready.
Some other corporations that have joined the programme are Unilever, KenGen, Safaricom, Bidco, Stanbic Bank, Absa Bank, Line Plast Group, and Tropikal Brands.
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