, NAIROBI, Kenya Jul 9 – Safaricom and Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) have partnered to launch a one-stop platform to meet the needs of Small and Medium Enterprises (SME), dubbed Biashara@Smart.
The two firms said the solution is a business proposition that helps businesses run effectively and professionally through offering tools and financial access.
Under Biashara@Smart, Safaricom offers SME business tips, cloud software management applications, as well as domain hosting and professional email services. KCB on the other hand brings to the table advisory services, SME banking, access to loans, insurance and online banking among others.
Safaricom Chief Executive Officer Bob Collymore said they target to recruit one million SMEs in the next 12 months.
“In the next few weeks we expect to offer our combined customer base the best in class of financial services and integrated communication solutions,” he said.
The partnership has started off with two starter packs, with the first one dubbed Biashara@Light where you will get access to an M-BENKI account (KCB mobile banking account) where if you save with that account for a month you can qualify to get a loan of up to Sh30,000.
The pack also gets you a website and five emails at a cost of Sh599 per year.
The second starter pack is dubbed Biashara@Pro, where SMEs will get access to a privilege account with KCB, access to smart phone devices, a website with higher capacity, as well as financing of up to Sh1 million.
On his part, KCB Group Chief Executive Officer Joshua Oigara said the partnership is a game changer for the market given that the SME sector employs 7.5 million people and accounts for 80 percent of the employment market while contributing over 92 percent of the new jobs created annually.
“We recognize that SMEs are the engine of the Kenyan economy, Biashara@Smart will offer them the necessary tools to help them achieve their business goals,” he said.
The partnership follows in global trends that have seen banks and telecommunications organisations engage in formal partnerships to increase business.
Equity Bank is set to launch its Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) services in partnership with Airtel Kenya where they will use the excess 60 percent infrastructure capacity of the telecom.