Monday, November 21, 2011

David Stopps Public Lecture Series Kenya

 Opening Remarks by the PS Trade
It is a pleasure to be here this morning. I appreciate the opportunity to take part in the official opening of this public lecture series aimed at equipping young people who are starting business in the creative sector with advanced business principles and skills. The Government recognizes the young peoples potential in identifying business/investments opportunities. We are told that talent creates its own opportunities, however at times it seems that intense desire creates not only its own opportunities, but its own talents too.

Small enterprises can be a seed bed for new ideas and a testing ground for new ways of working. They often lead to the way in new products and new services. The enterprises contribute significantly in creating self employment. Employment creation is a necessary component of economic recovery and performance, and small enterprises play an important role in this regard.

I want to pay tribute to the work and achievements of the British Council in the organisation of the lecture series which will certainly improve the young peoples potential in identifying business opportunities to generate income.

As you know, globalization, technological innovation, and increased reliance on outsourcing are exerting pressure for downsizing in private and public sector enterprises. This is rendering many people jobless and putting pressure for building new set of skills in the knowledge based economy.

I am aware of the challenges that the youth who have ventured in business face, including: Unfavorable policy environment, limited access to markets, limited access to finance, inadequate access to skills and technology, limited access to information, inadequate enterprise management skills, limited linkages with large enterprises among others.

To manage these challenges, we need to work together to come up with specific interventions that will ensure youth enterprises perform and graduate to medium and large enterprises.

At this juncture, let me talk on the catalytic role my Ministry plays in trade development, poverty reduction and wealth creation within the ambit of the Kenya Vision 2030. In this regard, the wholesale and retail trade has been identified as one of the key sectors in the economic development of Kenya as the sector is the link between production and consumption.

As you know, most of the employment in trade s found in the informal sector represented mainly in the Micro and Small Enterprises. My ministry's challenge, therefore, is to mainstream the informal sector by providing it with the support it currently lacks: secure business location, credit, training, and access to markets. The Ministry employs specific strategies to; improve the general business environment, strengthen the capacity of the informal enterprises operators, enhance the supply chain systems, enhance business management skills, and improve information access dissemination.

The ministry is in particular sensitizing the youth and the business community on the benefits arising from the integration of the East Africa Countries (EAC).

This will enhance the possibilities of achieving advantages of economies of scale and scope and use of resources and markets available-goods, services, skills, capital and related factors of production-in the enlarged single economic space. This would include any type of busiesses in another Member state whatever the structure of the business-family-owned or corporate.

The Ministry is in the process of establishing business solutions and information centers which are structured to be a one-stop shop for an integrated mix of business services for youth taking up self-employment within the MSE sector and other existing MSEs throughout the country thus catalyzing employment creation and economic growth in the rural ares. The centers will offer, among others, the service of; Information Systems on Markets, Investment and Technology, Identification of Potential Business opportunities and profiling, Business Skills and entrepreneurship Development, Development of incubation support for micro and small enterprises, access to financial services, Technology Research and Transfer, Development of Rural markets and Linkages and Provision of Busiess Service Facilities

These services will greatly enhance the livelihood of the youth and local communities as the centers that will contribute to the stimulation and growth of micro and small enterprises in these areas

The ministry is also enhancing the investment environment to attract financing and offer incentives in the needed fields e.g. technology and information and Communication Technology (ICT). By doing so this will encourage the competitiveness of SMEs, promote the establishment of support agencies including entrepreneurial centers, address the need to access training and education in, for example, entrepreneurial competence and business management, encourage financial institutions to provide appropriate and innovative financing instruments, promote innovation within the small enterprise sector.

I note with appreciation the Creative Enterprise Public Lecture series initiative will go a long way in changing the mindsets of our youth and transform them from a dependent to self-reliant individuals.

In conclusion, I once again thank the British Council profoundly for this initiative and we hope this will be cascaded to as many youth as possible and in different areas of creative arts entrepreneurship.

With these remarks, it is my pleasure to declare the Creative enterprise Public Lecture series officially open.

Thank you.