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Questions around KIEP and KIEP 250+

KIEP (Kenya Industry and Entrepreneurship Project) is a US$50 million World Bank and Government of Kenya funded project implemented by the Ministry of Investments, Trade and Industry (MITI), Trade and Enterprise Development (MoITED). KIEP aims to increase innovation and productivity in select private sector firms by strengthening the private sector.

KIEP consists of 3 components: 

  1. Strengthening the innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem
  2. SME linkages and upgrading – dubbed ‘KIEP 250+’
  3. Outreach, M&E and project implementation support 

KIEP 250+ seeks to improve business competitiveness by providing technical assistance and financial support to strengthen productivity, innovation, managerial and technical capabilities of 250 eligible SMEs across the country.

This will be done through multiple cohorts spread over the four- year project period.

 KIEP 250+ will run for four (4) years – from 2020 to 2024. 

Questions around the SME application process

A small enterprise is a firm involved in trade, service, industry or a business activity that employs between 10 and 50 people and has registered capital of Kshs. 5 and 20 million; whereas small enterprises in manufacturing have registered capital of between Kshs. 10 – 50 million.
A medium enterprise means a firm in trade, service, industry or business activity that employs between 51 and 100 people whose annual turnover does not exceed Kshs. 100 million, with registered capital that does not exceed Kshs. 125 million whereas those in manufacturing have capital that does not exceed Kshs. 250 million.

For purposes of KIEP 250+, SMEs to be considered are those that have operated for a minimum of 2 years with turnover of between 50 million and 1 billion in the last 2 years.

  1. Be nominated to the project by a lead firm, financial institutions or other 3rd party (e.g. business association)
  2. Priority given to SMEs with an annual turnover of between KES 50 million and 1 billion (this can be of previous financial year or an average annual turnover of previous 3 years)
  3. Be duly registered in Kenya
  4. At least 2 years in operation
  5. Should not be insolvent
  6. Must have audited accounts
  7. Must be tax compliant
  8. Committed management

Priority will be given to SMEs active in the following sectors:
Manufacturing; Agriculture; Housing and Settlement, Healthcare; Digital Superhighway and Creative Economy.
Woman/women-owned and/or led businesses are encouraged to apply.

A referral to KIEP 250+ by a business that you supply to (lead firm); or financial institution of which you are a client, or a business or industry association that you belong to.

No, it is really imperative that you are nominated into KIEP 250+.
Please contact your trading partners e.g. off-takers; your Bank or other financier; or your business or industry association.

Yes, KIEP 250+ wants to include at least 50 women-owned or women-led businesses in the project over the next four years. 

A firm with (a) 51% ownership/stake by a woman/ women; or (b) 20% owned by a woman/women and 1 woman as CEO/COO (President/Vice-President) as well as 30% of the board of directors being women where a board exists.

The submission deadline for each Call for Applications will be clearly indicated on the KIEP website. 

Each Call for Application will constitute an application window that remains open for 3 weeks. Any changes to this would be communicated well in advance of a call.

The project has 6 cohorts in total hence 6 calls for application. Each call for application will be opened for 3 weeks.

Questions around the BDS application process

A Business Development Service (BDS) Provider is an individual or organization that offers a business consultancy service(s) to an entrepreneur(s) to enable the entrepreneur(s) operate efficiently and grow their businesses.

For purposes of KIEP 250+, the preferred BDS providers to be considered to work with the project SMEs are those that meet the outlined eligibility criteria.

  1. Be duly registered and maintain an incorporated business in Kenya;
  2. Be at least 3 years old with 2 years’ experience in Business Development Service (BDS)provision as an organization or applying to its proposed individual key experts;
  3. Should have a practical knowledge of the stated area(s) of BDS; where possible professional qualifications should be mentioned;
  4. Should have demonstrated experience and knowledge of working with SMEs in BDS provision;
  5. Should have up to 5 SME clients for whom they have successfully completed business development services;
  6. Must be prepared to show an extract of work performed;
  7. Must be prepared to name two SME clients as references who may potentially be contacted by the KIEP 250+ Team;
  8. Must be prepared to sign a MoU with the Fund Manager outlining mode of engagement;

In certain cases, international BDS providers may be considered, in which case the first criteria shall not apply.

The project is open to accept applications for various areas of BDS provision in relation to the project objective.

All applications will be submitted through the KIEP 250+ online platform called SmartME. This online application platform is accessible through the project website

Questions around strategic partners

Strategic partners include lead firms, financial institutions, business and industry associations and other stakeholders that may nominate SMEs and that also have an interest in contributing in other ways to KIEP 250+.

Strategic partners will play a key role in evangelizing KIEP 250+ and its importance to its networks. They will also nominate eligible SMEs as well as mobilize their client and member constituents to nominate eligible SMEs to KIEP 250+. Additionally, they would be involved in identifying the SMEs gaps and/ or business improvement areas and act as a point of contact in case of the need for further information about the SMEs in relation to the project.

Strengthened SMEs will be beneficial for the strategic partners (better suppliers, better financial customers etc.). Where possible, there will be PR recognition of the strategic partners.

To participate in KIEP 250+, you need to register your interest by reaching out to the KIEP 250+ team by writing an email to

Implementing Ministry

Strategic Partners

Implementing Partners

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