ISBI – Small Business Promotion in Kenya

ISBI offers training for small and medium-sized entrepreneurs – the next Advanced Course will start on April 10th.

Ready to grow the business

Grace Mwangi is the CEO and owner of Panini Corner Ltd, which provides catering services to industrial companies and operates a restaurant in a commercial district. Years ago she started with a sandwich booth, today she has over 40 employees and runs a profitable business. However, she wants to expand her business and has therefore been visiting the ISBI Advanced Entrepreneurship Program along with 12 other entrepreneurs.

The program started on the 9thof February and covers a total of 12 sessions of 5 hours each until the closing event on the 4thof May. “The program is tailored to the challenges I face in my business. The lessons are very concrete and practice-oriented, and I learn a lot from the discussion with the other entrepreneurs who are struggling with the same problems as I.


The ISBI Advanced Entrepreneurship Program

ISBI’s Advanced Entrepreneurship Program targets decision-makers in companies that have over $ 100,000 in sales and more than 5 employees. On April 10, the next group starts, again with about 15 participants. The course helps entrepreneurs take their management skills to another level, which they need to continue their company’s productivity and growth path.

The program includes lessons, case discussions, coaching and counseling sessions, and represents a significant investment for entrepreneurs given the time and course price of $ 900. But an investment that pays off. Experience shows that these investments can be recouped in less than 6 months if the lessons learned are being implemented. For ICEP it is also important that the offer of ISBI can be sustainably financed thanks to the course fees, and that on this basis ISBI’s training offer for small and medium-sized enterprises can be expanded in the coming years.

Robert Wariua, Mooreland Hotel

“Safaricom recommended me to the ISBI Program. The program exposes one to so much – the structured way you can think of your business problems has made running the business a lot easier for me.”

Bryan Olando, Zana Dekor Ltd

“Examples presented in the classes are very relevant to what we’re doing and practical, as opposed to just bookwork. It helps in leadership and governance of your business and employees.”

Grace Kihara, Wandas Fashion

“What I like about ISBI and the lessons they give us is that they are real life. These are lessons in markeing and finance that we are able to capture and put into practise immediately after each lesson. “

ISBI – Small Business Promotion in Kenya

Graduates of the Advanced Entrepreneurship Program by the end of 2016

Number of entrepreneurs interviewed for program development

Months that entrepreneurs on average need to recoup course fees


Percentage of participants who are actively recommending ISBI

ISBI: A Joint Venture of ICEP with Strathmore

ICEP initiated ISBI 15 years ago with Strathmore University to provide business training and guidance to entrepreneurs in the informal sector in Nairobi. In 2014, ICEP and Strathmore set themselves the goal of aligning ISBI’s offerings with a market-based model to meet the needs of small and medium-sized enterprises. With Suncan Pavlovic, ICEP has its own local representative, who over the last two years has developed specific programs for the target audience and built up a marketing team for the distribution of the courses. ISBI is based at the Starthmore Business School, which also provides the lecturers for most of the classes.

The “Missing Middle”

The promotion of a dynamic sector of small and medium-sized enterprises plays a prominent role also in developing countries. Regarding financing, however, they are usually too large for micro-credits and – unlike larger companies and state-owned enterprises – too small to be adequately serviced by commercial banks,.

The gap is even greater in education and training programs. As a response, ICEP has teamed up with Strathmore to create the ISBI program that combines lessons, couselling and coaching that is tailored for entrepreneurs that have developed beyond the start-up phase and seek to consolidate or expand their business.


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Better entrepreneurs

Enterprises are the engine for private sector development and job creation.

Business training and access to finance

ICEP supports people in developing countries with entrepreneurial training, strategic consulting and access to finance to recognize and exploit market and business opportunities and to successfully run their own businesses.

Strengthening competitiveness

In addition to assisting start-ups in consolidating their businesses, ICEP seeks to strengthen the competitiveness of established small businesses. In order to improve the supply of goods and services, to deepen local production structures and to create more employment, the promotion of high-growth small and medium-sized enterprises is of central importance.

The educational deficits of small entrepreneurs are enormous, especially regarding specific knowledge and skills that cannot be relayed academically and abstractly, but need to be discussed interactively and extremely practice-oriented. I think we did a good job with the advanced course. A challenge for our program, which we wanted to structure from the outset in such a way that it can sustain itself from course fees, is the willingness of entrepreneurs to pay for training. In this country you are used to getting everything for free. The entrepreneurs that are in our courses do not need donations. And I do not remember a graduate who was not convinced that the course was worth while investment.

Suncan Pavlovic

ISBI Manager

Our partners

The Austrian Development Agency supports the development of ISBI
via their international assignment program managed by Horizont3000.

ICEP: Promoting Entrepreneurship in Kenya

ICEP has been promoting entrepreneurship in Kenya for 20 years. The first partner organization with which ICEP collaborated in this field was Kianda. Together with Kianda, ICEP developed a project approach that helps women in rural areas to build a small business through multiplicators. Over the years, more than 5,000 women have managed to assume control of their own lives. Since 2013, ICEP has been helping Kianda set up a Business Center to expand its support services for women entrepreneurs. In the past two years, ICEP has also implemented a pilot program with Kianda to introduce a guarantee fund. Kianda learned to cooperate with banks, to examine the borrowing needs of women entrepreneurs and to provide credit guarantees.

Another of ICEP’s long-term entrepreneurship partners is Imani, which supports entrepreneurs in the informal sector in the slums of Nairobi. Here, ICEP developed the microcredit program and helped Imani significantly reduce credit default rates and expand savings groups. For entrepreneurs who can no longer be serviced with group loans, Imani has improved training opportunities, as well as advice on the selection of microfinance providers and its services to calculate the appropriate interest rate on a loan. Also the partnerhsip with NRT in Lewa Downs began in the area of entrepreneur promotion. ICEP assisted NRT in the launch of a group credit program, also relying on the exchange of know-how between Imani and NRT.

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