The International Trade Centre (ITC) has launched the Kenya chapter of SheTrades in the Commonwealth in a drive to connect more Kenyan women entrepreneurs to markets.
A dedicated project of ITC’s global SheTrades initiative, the SheTrades in the Commonwealth project aims to drive increased trade, productivity and competitiveness for women entrepreneurs and women-owned companies to ensure that they play an active role in international trade. Through intensive training and mentoring activities, the goal is to strengthen the capacities of 3,000 women-owned businesses with a view to generate sales worth $38 million (Sh3.8b) by 2020.
ITC is the joint agency of the World Trade Organisation and the United Nations. It assists small and medium-sized enterprises in developing and transition economies to become more competitive in global markets, thereby contributing to sustainable economic development within the frameworks of the Aid-for-Trade agenda and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.
Officially launched in April and funded by United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID), SheTrades in the Commonwealth was endorsed by UK Prime Minister Theresa May when she opened Commonwealth Business Forum (CBF) in London.
SheTrades in the Commonwealth Kenya will address numerous challenges faced by women entrepreneurs, including limited access to market opportunities and lack of guidance from business support organizations.
“Through SheTrades in the Commonwealth, we aim to ensure that Kenyan women play a more active role in trade and are enabled to reap greater rewards from the economic benefits of trade.’ said Nicholas Schlaepfer, Senior Programme Officer at ITC’s Women and Trade Programme.
The SheTrades in the Commonwealth project will provide governments with better tools and information to implement gender-responsive policies and share best practices. Over a two-year period, ITC will initially work to increase the competitiveness of women entrepreneurs in the agriculture, apparel and services sectors in four Commonwealth focus countries: Bangladesh, Ghana, Kenya and Nigeria.