Lack of funding has been identified as a major setback that has for years shattered the dreams of upcoming entrepreneurs in Omuthiya, who say they are burdened with the requirement of properties to be used as collateral to secure funding. They are pleading with financial institutions to be lenient when dealing with emerging entrepreneurs, as they having nothing to attach as security.
Narrating her ordeal was Monica Kalinga, who now owns a saloon, after she had abandoned her five-year catering business due to lack of funds to transport, logistical difficulties, as well the instability of the market. Kalinga is one of the 120 entrepreneurs attending a three-day workshop on how to start and grow your business, initiated by Omuthiya Town Council to develop Small and Medium Enterprises into a developing sector to accelerate the town’s economic growth. “I have several times tried to seek assistance, but they (financial lenders) keep asking for security and I don’t have that. My business was not growing due to fluctuation of the market segment. At least they could be lenient and assist us halfway, so that when we make a little we can start paying back,” Kalinga suggested,
She is, however, optimistic that in her new venture she will break even within the next three months. She now employs two people with prospects of increasing the number of employees if business goes well. When asked how she is going to evade the financial hiccups in her new venture, Kalinga said she had to quit her previous job to concentrate on her business, although she did not specify in which capacity she was employed.
“After failing to secure funding I just had to quit my job and use the little money I got to try something else and that is how I was able to come up with the saloon. With the training I’m sure I will be in a better position to run my business in the right direction,” explained Kalinga, describing her new challenge as relatively manageable.
Another affected entrepreneur is Phillip Nekomba, who has been struggling for the past six years to keep his tyre repair workshop running, due to costly maintenance of the equipment, and high rental fees.
“All I’m asking for is for the council to avail a business block, or erven, where one can conduct business while paying off the [cost of servicing the] areas slowly. The money I am spending on rent should be used to pay for a legitimate area of the business. However, with regard to business, it [is going] relatively well, but I’m thinking of looking into other avenues, such as construction, although funding is the main constraint here, ” Nekomba explained.