Women Enterprise Fund (WEF), a semi-autonomous government agency in the Ministry of Public Service and Gender, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Mount Kenya University (MKU) on capacity building and mentorship.
WEF was established in 2007 to provide accessible and affordable credit to support women start and/or expand business for wealth and employment creation. Fully funded by the government, the agency’s main role is provision of subsidized credit to women groups for enterprise development.
Since establishment, WEF has turned around the Sh5 billion advanced by the government four times and its current loan kitty is more than Sh20 billion, which has been used to fund women entrepreneurs. As part of the partnership with MKU, the two institutions will carry out joint training and coaching in MKU’s Graduate Enterprise Academy (GEA) and WEF initiatives and joint networking and mentoring of both MKU’s GEA and WEF beneficiaries.
Making the announcement, Prof Peter Wanderi, the principal corporate services and director of linkages, partnerships and collaborations at MKU, said through the partnership, the two institutions will greatly contribute to a wealth of knowledge beneficial to women in business. “On the other hand, WEF’s subsidized loans will financially empower graduate trainees to meet their business goals,” he added.
The WEF – MKU partnership brings to five the number of institutions the fund has partnered with on capacity building. Other partners include The Coca-Cola Company, SNV Netherlands, Hand in Hand Africa and Kenya Institute of Business Training (KIBT).
Todate, WEF has disbursed Sh20.4 billion to 116,531 self-help groups benefitting 1.8 million individual women across the country. The fund’s average loan repayment rate is 97 per cent. Additionally, 1.4 million individual women have been trained in entrepreneurship and 21,000 women supported to access markets and linked to larger enterprises.
Under the Fund’s Strategic Plan 2019/2024, the key focus is to forge strategic alliances with like-minded institutions. Apart from provision of subsidized credit for enterprise development, the fund aims at capacity building of women beneficiaries as well as to support and facilitate local and international marketing of goods and services produced by women entrepreneurs.
WEP also supports and facilitates development of linkages between women owned enterprises and big companies. This includes supporting investments in infrastructure that support women enterprises.