For the last seven months the Bank has been hosting customer networking forums for its Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSME) customers. The networking forums were held in selected towns across the country enabling business communities in those towns to network among themselves as learn about business opportunities in Kenya and specifically in their county, from the bank economist and treasurer.
The customer networking forums are a key part of Co-op Bank’s MSME offering, as it is widely acknowledged that MSMEs need the insights and training on economic matters that have a direct bearing on their business, and which they have little or no control over. To address these, the forums featured a detailed presentation by the bank’s treasurer on the opportunities that MSMEs can tap and the ways the bank is working to enable customers to seize them. This was followed by a panel discussion with bank representatives and successful entrepreneurs from the region, concluding with a networking session. The final MSME forum will be held in Kisii later this week.
Co-op Bank recently revamped its MSME offering and now has an arm in the bank which deals specifically with non-financial services for its MSME business banking customers. The bank retooled and refreshed the product offering to make it more responsive to the needs of MSMEs. They have made available a substantial kitty of Sh15.2 Billion for a package of loans that include an unsecured business loan, a first of its kind in Kenya, E-Credit through our MCo-op Cash App where businesses are able to borrow up to Ksh. 2 million via their mobile phone, packaged insurance cover which are handpicked and specifically negotiated to suit various segments under MSME, revised and pre-approved limits on overdrafts and loans. The loans will be supported by trade services that include Letters of Credit, guarantees, supply chain financing, among others. These services are available at all Cooperative Bank branches across the country.
The Bank, through its non-financial services arm, will also be taking customers for the second international business trip this year, from 2nd November to 12th November, 2019; where customers will visit Thailand and China. The trip will enable customers to create linkages for overseas business and build partnership opportunities as well as purchase various items at highly discounted costs which will enable them to pass the discounts to their customers, making their products competitive. The business trip is open to all business customers from across the country, looking to travel to China for business.
The customers will get a chance to tour Thailand and China, specifically Bangkok and Guangzhou. In Bangkok, they will visit clothes factories, multiple spare part shops and busy shopping districts. In Guangzhou, they will get a chance to visit various constructions sites where they will learn the latest building technologies and waste management processes. They will further visits markets for hardware, kitchen ware, tiles & ceramics, furniture, electronic appliances, clothes and leather among others.
Speaking about the upcoming business trip, Co-operative Bank Head of Business Banking, Moses Gitau said, “Earlier this year we took business customers to Shanghai and Yiwu; where they were able to interact and network with business in China. They were able to create linkages for overseas business and partnerships. This upcoming business exposure trip will present similar invaluable opportunities to the customers. The trip is a unique experience where participants get to mix business with leisure.”
The Bank continues to look for more opportunities and develop various programs to build on its vision for MSMEs, which is to grow world class entrepreneurs beyond the Kenyan borders.