Small Business Support
Helping people to be able to sustain and improve their livelihood is an important part of our work in Kibera. Many people try to make a living by running small businesses and therefore providing small business support is a way we can help people to improve their quality of life. Two of the key problems are a lack of capital to start or build the business and lack of business training. To help address these issues we have established a Micro Enterprise Development programme. Support comes in the form of a modest Micro Enterprise seed fund, administered by a local committee of volunteers providing small business loans to set up or expand local small businesses. In addition to this, we provide small business development training and support. The initiative is registered with the Kenyan government as a community-based organisation (CBO) under the name of New Community 2019 Micro Finance.
Living Waters Social Enterprises charity works alongside NC Kibera projects to seek funding to support small business and capital projects and promote fundraising.
Some of our micro-enterprise loan beneficiaries
Chips and samosas
Florence established her business on Kibera Drive with an initial 5,000 KES loan and ran into difficulty when the price of potatoes rose and she stopped making a profit. She diversified into making samosas, and was supported with a further loan once the price of potatoes fell again to buy more potatoes which is a high ticket item for the size of business. A sack of potatoes will typically last 3 days. Now the business is selling both chips and samosas in equal quantities.
Small business video training
In 2019 the global Covid pandemic restricted travel and in response, the focus of our interaction with our partners in Kenya became increasingly on-line. Born out of a need to provide small business training, initially for young people graduating from the twelve-step narcotics restoration programme, we developed a training course to help to establish and expand small businesses that are the heartbeat of the local economy.
As we've gained experience, we have made the course more generic so that it can be re-used in different settings. The material is available here
or via our YouTube channel for free download and use.
This project would not exist today were it not for the energy, drive, enthusiasm, and wisdom of the local committee in Kibera. Each one with a passion to see positive changes in their community.
All are successful business people in their own right who are able not only to manage the MED loan fund but provide help and encouragement to those requesting business loans and also build the local small business community by organising regular training and networking events. There is a real wealth of practical experience within the local community. The committee is helping to unlock that business potential.
Our local committee comprises:
From left to right:
William Mbuvi (member)
Mark Tizodi (member)
Benjamin Muthoka (transitional member and previous chair)
Ann Ndaka (chair)
Jane Chepkerin (treasurer)
Billy Rogo (hon secretary)
Gerson Amimo (member, not shown)
Our team from the UK includes volunteers from different business streams with a range of skills and experience.
Neil Moore leads the Small Business Development work, helping initially to establish the micro-enterprise loan scheme, and now provides ongoing business support and training. Now semi-retired following a varied career in IT, he is able to focus more energy on the NC Kibera projects. Neil lives in Southampton with Hilary his wife and has two grown-up children, Sam and Anna.
Chris Romilly is a Chartered Engineer and consultant, with over 17 years experience of Digital TV Broadcast Networks plus contract management and design positions. He was part of the team that initiated the micro-enterprise loan project, visits Kibera regularly, and has set up the Living Waters Social Enterprises UK charity. Living in Southampton and married to Carol, he has two grown-up children.