Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) in Kenya are facing a challenging operating environment characterized by heightened taxes and currency volatilities. To navigate these challenges and ensure long-term sustainability, industry experts emphasize the importance of SMEs focusing on the global market. The recent inaugural stakeholders forum by Britam highlighted key strategies for SMEs to thrive, including leveraging global competitiveness, prioritizing agriculture commercialization, and accessing public-private support for development. Additionally, investing in infrastructure and embracing taxation responsibilities are crucial for reducing the cost of doing business and facilitating growth. This article explores these strategies in detail, aiming to empower SMEs with insights for informed decision-making and expansion.

Quick Summary:

  • Global Market Focus: SMEs are urged to shift their focus towards the global market to remain competitive and ensure long-term sustainability amidst challenging operating conditions.
  • Agriculture Commercialization: There is immense potential for growth in the agriculture sector, but commercialization efforts need to be intensified to unlock value and enhance competitiveness on the global stage.
  • Public-Private Support: Collaboration between the public and private sectors is essential for providing SMEs with the necessary support, including access to affordable financing, infrastructure development, and market expansion opportunities.
  • Tax Compliance: SMEs should prioritize tax compliance to avoid disruptions to their operations and ensure sustainable growth. Evading taxes can have detrimental consequences and jeopardize long-term success.

Strategies for SMEs Survival and Growth:

  1. Leveraging Global Competitiveness: SMEs should explore opportunities for export ventures and global competitiveness. Opening up to international markets can enhance growth prospects and diversify revenue streams, mitigating risks associated with local market challenges.
  2. Prioritizing Agriculture Commercialization: The agriculture sector presents significant opportunities for SMEs, but concerted efforts are needed to commercialize the sector and add value to agricultural products. Embracing innovation and modern farming practices can enhance productivity and competitiveness in global markets.
  3. Accessing Public-Private Support: Collaboration between government institutions, financial institutions, and SMEs is essential for providing support in areas such as access to affordable financing, infrastructure development, and market expansion initiatives. Government-backed loan programs and partnerships with financial institutions can help address the financing needs of SMEs.
  4. Investing in Infrastructure: Improving transportation, logistics, and communication networks is crucial for reducing the cost of doing business and facilitating the movement of goods and services. Infrastructure development initiatives can enhance efficiency and competitiveness, enabling SMEs to access new markets and opportunities.
  5. Embracing Tax Compliance: SMEs should prioritize tax compliance to avoid legal and financial repercussions. Consulting with tax experts and adhering to tax regulations can help SMEs navigate the complexities of the tax environment and ensure sustainable growth.


As SMEs in Kenya face various challenges, including limited access to finance, markets, and high operating costs, it is imperative for them to adopt strategic approaches for survival and growth. By focusing on global market opportunities, agriculture commercialization, public-private support, infrastructure development, and tax compliance, SMEs can enhance their competitiveness and resilience in the face of adversity. Collaboration between stakeholders and a proactive approach to addressing challenges are essential for unlocking the full potential of SMEs and driving economic growth and development in Kenya.