US firms eye partnerships with local SMEs

Tuesday July 21 2015

Director Trade Assist International Fidelis

Director Trade Assist International Fidelis Wanjiku and Dr Harold Smith of OyaGen USA during the two day USA- Kenya Trade Direct Business Forum that kicked off Tuesday at The Royal Orchid Hotel, Nairobi. The two are part of a team organising partnerships with local SMEs at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit. PHOTO | LILIAN OCHIENG | 

By LILIAN OCHIENG'
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Over 20 representatives from US firms are in Kenya to collectively invest over Sh20 billion in partnership with small and medium enterprises.

Speaking at the USA- Kenya Trade Direct Business Forum in Nairobi Tuesday, Dr Malcom Beech President of the Greater Washington National Business league said the team is looking for lasting relationships with Kenyan entrepreneurs that will deepen trade ties.

“Big businesses are eating up all revenue in the developed world, they are capturing all attention leaving SME without capital and support for their businesses, we want to partner with local businesses and set up local plants that will enhance US-Kenya trade relations,” said Dr Beech.

The expatriates are organising the summit ahead of the Global Entrepreneurship Summit scheduled later this week. They want to create a rapport with local SME in energy, oil and gas, building and construction, education, media, health and horticulture to help them grow their businesses.

US power generation firm Africa Energy Resources for instance is looking to use garbage as the raw material for electric power production. It plans to set up a Sh3 billion plant, the firm said Nairobi is strategic because it has a population of 5 million people generating enough garbage daily.

ELECTRICITY

“We plan to put the garbage to use by turning it into electricity,” said Dr Beech who is the managing director of the firm.

Ibex Initiatives Inc a US project development firm looks to partner with SME in real estate, health and energy sectors. Crown Jewel Hospitality wants to partner with hotels and entertainment firms that are growing.

Other firms are Green Fuel solutions, Arc Angle Global Media, Biometric ID and Identity Management Solutions and Rosenthal Group.

Dr Maurice Kinyanjui Managing Director of Ibex Initiatives said the delegation has long time plans to nurture Kenyan entrepreneur with business skills and connect them to the US trade market.

“SME is the only way Kenya will build its economy, customers in the US are waiting for products from the region, we can provide the link through partnerships,” said Kinyanjui.

Dr Harold Smith who owns OyaGen a biotechnology firm said he wants to work with pharmaceutical firms by setting up a firm in Kenya to help produce drugs in Africa for Africans, addressing diseases locally.

KenInvest General Manager Pius Rotich urged the firms not to shy away from investing, he said that Kenya offers many investment opportunities that have seen the ease of doing business in the country increase.