How local start-up, stock market bond firms up economy

A trader at a market in Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NMG In 1999, a young entrepreneur and former teacher of English from Hangzhou searched the internet for the word ‘beer’ and realised that the results did not have a single brand from China. He was even more surprised after searching for the word ‘China’ to realise that not a single result popped up.

It was then that he identified an opportunity and convinced 17 of his friends to join him in setting up an e-commerce start-up in his apartment.

Today, he is the second richest man in China. Jack Ma, the former executive chairman of listed company Alibaba, with an estimated net worth of $48.2 billion.

His story is an inspiration for home-grown companies across the world.

In Kenya, we have 7.4 million potential Alibabas across sectors. Majority of these are the micro, small and medium sized enterprises that can be found in local neighbourhood started as a way to put food on the table.

The spectrum of these companies is diverse and ranges from your corner shop grocery stores, to your convenience shops (kiosks), all the way to supermarket chains and manufacturers.

These local enterprises form the backbone of the Kenyan economy and their growth translates to the direct growth of the economy.

This is where commerce and the stock market form an inseparable bond. The local enterprises require capital for growth and expansion and the stock market provides an avenue to raise it.

The local enterprises require credibility to ensure brand eminence and the stock market provides it. These family-owned businesses require a shot in the arm on corporate governance and the stock market provides exactly that.

And as these companies seek to achieve their dreams of growth to become the next Alibaba, then they may need to explore the stock market.

Kenya is the cradle of innovation, and our enterprises are among the best in the world. Our stock market may have giants that are capitalised to the billions of shillings, but there is no better place for local enterprises to stand with the local giants as at the stock exchange.The different market segments at the Nairobi Securities Exchange allow for choice and diversity with the common thread of all listed companies being growth and credibility.NSE has embarked on initiatives to support local enterprises and uplift them.One such example is the Ibuka programme, an incubation and acceleration desk that the exchange created in 2019 to enable […]

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