Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) has partnered with SBM Bank, Kenya to host the Second Women in Manufacturing Gala Dinner, a platform that brings together women in the manufacturing sector to share best practices towards expanding inclusivity in various sectors of the economy.
Women in Manufacturing Chairlady, Ms Flora Mutahi noted that women are key drivers of manufacturing within the informal sector producing products such as bread, clothing, cooking oil, hair oil, yoghurt and other products in their homesteads but do not see it as part of the manufacturing sector.
“Women are already producing. Why not provide a nurturing environment for them to scale these businesses and make them profitable as they employ more people? This is what we are trying to do with the Women in Manufacturing Programme, to encourage women to step forward and dare to grow, and also to advocate to government to establish policies to bring women into the sector,” Ms. Mutahi added.
SBM Bank Kenya CEO, Mr Moezz Mir noted that the partnership between SBM Bank and KAM will play a more pivotal role in facilitating access to finance to enable women owned and lead businesses to increasingly take up more opportunities within the manufacturing sector.
‘Access to capital remains a hindrance to entrepreneurship, business growth and expansion. This is especially true for women-owned and run businesses due to the reliance on traditional modes of finance that are heavily reliant on collateralization of assets such as land titles most of which tend to bear the names of a male proprietor. To tackle such barriers, we in the banking sector must continually innovate and move away from collateral-backed lending. Through technological innovation we can enable easy access to finance for all,” Mr. Mir added.
According to KAM Chief Executive Phyllis Wakiaga, the Women In Manufacturing Programme was established to bridge the gap between existing opportunities in manufacturing and the kind of skills required to increase the participation of women in manufacturing.
“It is important to encourage women who are interested in creating and innovating to join and scale their businesses in manufacturing so that we can create more jobs and raise the sector’s share of GDP,” Ms. Wakiaga added.
SecureID Ltd Founder Nigeria Ms. Kofo Akinkugbe, who will be a key speaker at the forum, says women have the ability to tap into various industries as founders but remain largely unaware of existing opportunities.
“I make credit cards and have been in this business for 13 years. In those years, I have seen few women venture into manufacturing, and those who do are stuck in cottage industries. It is about time we say to women that it is possible to succeed in manufacturing.” She added.