By Patrick Chiriba
In a momentous event held in Mombasa, Ecobank and the Jumuiya ya Kaunti za Pwani (JKP) Secretariat joined forces to launch the Jumuiya Hub, an initiative set to revolutionize entrepreneurial opportunities in Kenya’s coastal counties.
The launch of the Mombasa ECOMSME Lab, marked by a series of poignant speeches and strategic collaborations, unveiled a pioneering platform to nurture and empower micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) across the region.
Dr. Emmanuel Nzai, CEO of the JKP Secretariat, said the hub is the first of its kind in the county and will impact the development of the MSME sector in the region.
“The Hub will be a valuable resource for MSMEs in the region. We are grateful to Ecobank for their commitment to supporting MSMEs in Kenya and across the continent,” said Dr. Nzai.
Nzai’s remarks were echoed by Patience Tsimba, from the JKP Secretariat. She asserted that the hub will bring young innovators and startups and provide them with early experience in entrepreneurial matters.
“The hub will be one of its kind for the six coastal counties. It will focus on building capacity for SME incubation and walking the journey with them,” Patience said.
She added: “We will tailor-make programs that match their needs. We will tackle the problems according to their needs. There would be no blanket solutions.”
Ecobank Kenya Managing Director Josephine Anan-Ankomah underscored the importance of strategic collaborations and comprehensive support structures in nurturing entrepreneurial endeavors.
“MSMEs drive our economy and create and provide much-needed employment to millions of Kenyans. The pivotal role that MSMEs play in Kenya and across Africa cannot be overemphasized,” she said.
Josephine noted that the ECOMSME Lab programs will be tailored to upskill MSMEs in areas such as financial literacy, business management, and strategic planning.
“We are focused on helping these MSMEs develop, grow, and scale, not only in Kenya but across Africa. This aligns with Jumia’s mandate and objectives and resonates with Ecobank’s mission of ensuring economic development and financial integration across the continent,” she added.
According to Josephine, Ecobank will provide the office space for the lab at their Mombasa branch along Moi Avenue.
The Ecobank Academy will support the design and implementation of the training programs by leveraging its programs, such as the Booster series.
JKP will refurbish the space that Eco Bank will provide and facilitate the establishment of the hub. This will include providing competent and experienced facilitators who will deliver customized training.
Jumuiya will also ensure a conducive learning environment and provide access to Jumia’s network of partners and resources.
Sahale Bawazi, CEO of Mombasa Investment Corporation (MIC), mentioned that the lab not only focuses on capacity building and enhancement of skills, but it also has a financial institution backing it.
She added: “That makes it very key, because most of the time you will have people with different ideas or innovations, but they lack the funding.”
The highlight was the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Ecobank and the JKP Secretariat.
This definitive moment they solidified their commitment to driving the success of the Mombasa ECOMSME Lab, symbolizing a harmonious partnership poised to transform the entrepreneurial landscape in the coastal counties.