More than 30 Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Thika Constituency have received Sh4 million from Uwezo Fund to help them recover from Covid-19 economic shock.
The groups, some of whose businesses were on the verge of collapse, received between Sh100,000-Sh 200,000.
Pauline Wanjiru, one of the leaders of the groups, said the funds would help their businesses recoup from the shockwaves brought about by the Covid-19 pandemics.
Wanjiru, the chairwoman of Purple Self-Help Group from Thika’s Kiandutu slums that deals with tents and plastic chairs for hire, said that they will use the Sh100,000 to buy another tent and over 100 chairs.
She said social distancing had affected their businesses with several groups splitting up as their ventures become unprofitable.
“Some businesses were almost collapsing. Members were slowly beginning to give up. But with the funds, we shall expand our operation and hope that our operations would normalize,” she said.
Thika MP Patrick Wainaina, who issued the funds, decried the low uptake of the funds, saying they disbursed half of the set amounts.
He called on groups to align themselves with beneficial government opportunities in a bid to get financial grants to grow their opportunities, especially now that most of them have been grappling with adverse socio-economic challenges precipitated by Covid-19.
“Out of Sh7 million that we have for Uwezo Fund, we have given out Sh Sh4 million due to low uptake. We call on residents to apply for these funds so as to end unemployment,” he said.
Wainaina said they will only fund groups whose businesses are aligned to the government’s Big Four agenda to help the country grow and also to create jobs.
Meanwhile, the MP called on the government to increase the Uwezo Fund kitty so that groups may benefit from some higher amounts that can help their businesses grow.
“Most of these start-ups need to be funded with Sh3 million to at least grow. We are underfunding them with the Sh100,000 that we give them as they can’t make any meaningful growth,” he said.