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Coastal Women Enterprises in Blue Economy Receive Sh50m funding

Coastal Women Enterprises in Blue Economy Receive Sh50m funding

Mombasa,

Friday, April 26, 2024

KNA by Andrew Hinga and Sadik Hassan

The government has pledged to support small businesses and enterprises in the Coast region aligned to the exploitation and maximization of Blue Economy potential.

In a speech read by Principal Secretary (PS) for Shipping and Maritime Affairs Geoffrey Kaituko on behalf of Cabinet Secretary for Mining Salim Mvurya during the Africa Enterprise Challenge fund (AECF) investing in women in the Blue Economy small business window awards at the Kenya School of Government (KSG), Mombasa, Kaituko said the key drivers of the sector especially in the Coastal are women entrepreneurs.

The investing in women in the blue economy in Kenya (IIW-BEK) small business window awards is an initiative of the State Department for Blue Economy and Fisheries in partnership with Canada and AECF.

In this year’s caucus, 19 women entrepreneurs from Kwale, Mombasa, Kilifi and Lamu counties received Sh. 50,000,000 to boost their small and medium enterprises. The women will receive funding ranging from Sh1.5M to Sh1.7M.

The program aims to contribute to enhanced economic empowerment of women-owned enterprises, their suppliers and producers along key supply chains.

The project covers all six coastal counties and Busia, Siaya, Kisumu, Homabay and Migori in the western region of the country.

CS Mvurya noted that in Kenya, women are the backbone of many coastal communities, playing multifaceted roles that sustain livelihoods and foster sustainable development.

“It is crucial to recognize that women are not just beneficiaries of the blue economy; they are active participants and key decision makers in various sectors such as fisheries, aquaculture, marine conservation and tourism,” said CS Mvurya.

The CS also took cognizance of the numerous challenges faced by women-ran small and medium enterprises noting the fact that a myriad of factors including; limited access to resources, financial services and training have hindered their ability to harness opportunities in the sector fully.

However, he pledged the government’s commitment to mitigate some of these challenges playing its facilitative role to ensure the sustainable growth of women-driven enterprises in the blue economy sector.

“We must address these challenges and barriers and create an enabling environment that empowers women to thrive in the blue economy. This entails providing access to education, skills development, access to credit facilities and leadership opportunities,” added Mvurya.

CS Mvurya lauded the efforts made by key partners and stakeholders for committing to strengthen the sector, augmenting the work the government has done in creating a suitable environment where small window businesses can thrive and in turn sustain communities.

“As government, we acknowledge the importance of partnerships in such endeavours and we thank the AECF and Global Affairs Canada for the continued support and recognition of women’s role in the various value chains within the blue economy,” he said.

On her part, Victoria Sabula, CEO of the AECF said the selection process was competitive and rigorous.

“We celebrate the triumphs of women entrepreneurs within the blue economy, recognizing their critical role in propelling Kenya’s economic vitality and sustainability forward,” said Sabula.

She went on: “It’s paramount that we champion the endeavours of women and young women, particularly those marginalized in the small businesses, as they infuse our collective journey with resilience, innovation, and promise.”

Courtesy; KNA

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