, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 13- This will be the first time that the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) is held in sub-Saharan Africa, and the decision to hold it in Kenya showcases the country’s huge economic potential.
As with most conferences, what really matters is what happens after the summit. For Kenya, fortunately the country already has an entrepreneurial spirit and culture. But the most effective area for government and policy makers is to later put more efforts into breaking barriers to entrepreneurship in Kenya.
Cytonn Investments CEO Edwin Dande identifies the following key areas as a means to enhance entrepreneurship in the country in relation to the summit.
Improve access to capital for entrepreneurs. We believe that both a local and a global access strategy are essential. Locally, the government can explore ideas such as a professionally run Kenya sovereign venture fund, in partnership with commercial oriented development agencies such as the Millennial Challenge Corporation (MCC), to fund proven ventures. A shilling for shilling matched funding of a ventured fund between the government and MCC is a viable idea.
Globally, working to make Kenya a regional financial hub and establishing free trade districts would improve access to capital.
Create a specific agency or authority to nurture entrepreneurship in the country, especially for women and youth. For example in the US, the Small Business Administration exists specifically to assist small businesses. While initiatives like ‘Kazi Kwa Vijana’ are good starting steps, they are not sustainable. An agency that is professionally administered, with specific accountability and deliverables for developing entrepreneurs and enabling entrepreneurship is the more sustainable approach.
Improve ease of doing business, by making processes such as company registration, searches, compliance, title documents more efficient.
Improve commercial dispute resolution process and speed, in order to stop the common abuse of court process to stifle competition and innovation. For example, while the judicial system is essential to a functioning free market, we think that things like Equitel’s launch has been unnecessarily slowed down by court process.
Make it fairly easy for companies to access capital markets, especially through initial listings and structured products. The ratio of Kenya’s listed companies to every 1 million people, at 1x, compared to South Africa’s 6x or the United States 16x is unacceptably low. A vibrant and transparent capital market is essential to attracting foreign direct investments and risk capital to fund entrepreneurs.