NCBA and Strathmore partner for the Owner Manager Programme for SMEs in East Africa




25 SME business owners have graduated with a certificate from the Enterprise Development Programme that was established last year as a result of a partnership between NCBA and Strathmore Business School.

The 16-week course that cuts across most sectors of the economy is designed to meet and solve the needs and challenges that SMEs face. The first cohort targeted business owners who have businesses with an annual turnover of Kshs 3 million, with three or more employees and have been in business for over 3 years.

(TOP: Dr. Majid Twahir, Associate Dean for Research & Innovation at Strathmore University  – second left – and;  Tirus Mwithiga, Group Director Retail NCBA – second right – sign a MoU to further enhance their partnership through the Owner Manager Programme (OMP), a programme for mid-sized companies in East Africa. Looking on are Dr Hellen Otieno, Academic Director, Enterprise Development Programme, Strathmore University – left – and Robert Kiboti, Director, Commercial & SME NCBA – right).

“NCBA remains committed to Kenya’s economic growth. That is what informed our decision to partner with the Strathmore Business School to support our SME customers to grow their business ventures. As a bank we extend financial support to our customer to facilitate payment,” said Tirus Mwithiga, the Group Director, Retail Banking at NCBA.

Dr. Majid Twahir, the Associate Dean, Research and Innovation at Strathmore University Business School, emphasized the university’s commitment to empowering SMEs in Kenya and beyond. “As an entrepreneurial university, Strathmore University, is deeply committed to nurturing growth of SMEs. Our focus on Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) aligns with their pivotal role in sustaining households, fostering innovation, and being prolific sources of employment.”

During the 16-week programme, the graduates were taken through tailor-made courses, specifically designed to meet and solve the needs and challenges that SMEs face. They were exposed to locally developed business case studies to give them tools and skills to recognize and take advantage of business opportunities, develop socially responsible and viable businesses and foster successful business entrepreneurship in the region.

During the graduation ceremony, NCBA and Strathmore University Business School announced that they will further enhance their partnership through the Owner Manager Programme (OMP), a Programme for mid-sized companies in East Africa

Mwithiga spoke about the Programme, stating: “As has been our tradition, we will continue to come up with different programmes that support all our customers. The most exciting aspect of the OMP Programme lies in the strategic partnership with the Lagos Business School, Nigeria. This will facilitate an exchange of ideas between East African and West African entrepreneurs.”

To be eligible for the OMP Programme, one must be a Founder, CEO, Shareholder or Managing Director of a business that has run for a period of over 5 years, with an annual turnover of Kshs 50 million and have over 20 employees.

The programme has been thoughtfully arranged to accommodate the busy schedules of the participants. It has been divided into 4 modules. Each module will run for a period of 5 days per quarter in March, May, June, and October.

According to Forbes, SMEs in West Africa make up to 90% of businesses and contribute 40% of the region’s GDP. Providing an avenue for networking between the two regions will boost innovation and economic integration which are indispensable for developing countries. The collaboration will also smoothen and expand trade within the regions and foster regional stability.

Both programs underscore the commitment by NCBA to sustaining SME growth and development in Kenya and East Africa at large by equipping them with essential tools and knowledge for long-term success. NCBA focus is to create an enabling environment for businesses to thrive.

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