Frequently Asked Questions
Questions around KIEP and KIEP 250+

KIEP (Kenya Industry and Entrepreneurship Project) is a US$50 million World Bank and Government of Kenya funded project implemented by the Ministry of Industrialization, Trade and Enterprise Development (MoITED). KIEP aims to increase innovation and productivity in select private sector firms by strengthening the private sector.

KIEP consists of 3 components: 

  1. Strengthening the innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem
  2. SME linkages and upgradingdubbed ‘KIEP 250+’
  3. Outreach, M&E and project implementation support 

KIEP 250+ seeks to improve business competitiveness by providing technical assistance and financial support to strengthen productivity, innovation, managerial and technical capabilities of 250 eligible SMEs across the country 

This will be done through multiple cohorts spread over the four- year project period 

 KIEP 250+ will run for four (4) years – from 2020 to 2024. 


Questions around the SME application process
  1. Be nominated to the project by a lead firm, financial institution or business or industry associations
  2. Must have annual revenues of between Kes 50 million and 1 billion (average annual revenues of previous 3 years)
  3. Be duly registered in Kenya
  4. Be at least 2 years old
  5. Should not be insolvent
  6. Must have audited accounts for the past 3 years
  7. Must be tax compliant
  8. Management must be committed to participating in the project 

Note: Priority will be given to SMEs active in the manufacturing, agriculture, health and construction sectors in line with the Kenya government’s ‘Big Four’ transformation agenda 

A referral to KIEP 250+ by a business that you supply to (lead firm); or financial institution of which you are a client, or a business or industry association that you belong to.

No, it is really imperative that you are nominated into KIEP 250+.  
Please contact your trading partners e.g. off-takers; your Bank or other financier; or your business or industry association.

Yes, KIEP 250+ wants to include at least 50 women-owned or women-led businesses in the project over the next four years. 

A firm with (a) 51% ownership/stake by a woman/ women; or (b) 20% owned by a woman/women and 1 woman as CEO/COO (President/Vice-President) as well as 30% of the board of directors being women where a board exists.

The submission deadline for each Call for Applications will be clearly indicated on the KIEP website. 

All applications will be submitted through the KIEP 250+ online platform called SmartME. A link to this will be made available from the KIEP website. Instructions for completing the form will be provided at every step of the application process in SmartME. 

Each Call for Application will constitute an application window that remains open for 4 weeks. Any changes to this would be communicated well in advance of a call.

The project has 6 cohorts in total hence 6 calls for application. Each call for application will be opened for 4 weeks.

Questions around the BDS application process
  1. Be duly registered and maintain an incorporated business in Kenya;
  2. Be at least 3 years old with 2 years’ experience in Business Development Service (BDS)provision;
  3. Should have a practical knowledge of the stated area(s) of BDS; where possible professional qualifications should be mentioned;
  4. Should have demonstrated experience and knowledge of working with SMEs in BDS provision;
  5. Should have up to 5 SME clients for whom they have successfully completed business development services;
  6. Must be prepared to show an extract of work performed;
  7. Must be prepared to name two SME clients as references who may potentially be contacted by the KIEP 250+ Team;
  8. Must be prepared to sign a MoU with the Fund Manager outlining mode of engagement;

In certain cases, international BDS providers may be considered, in which case the first criteria shall not apply.

The project is open to accept applications for various areas of BDS provision in relation to the project objective.  

All applications will be submitted through the KIEP 250+ online platform called SmartME. A link to this will be made available from the KIEP website.

Questions around strategic partners

Strategic partners include lead firms, financial institutions, business and industry associations and other stakeholders that may nominate SMEs and that also have an interest in contributing in other ways to KIEP 250+. 

Strategic partners will play a key role in evangelizing KIEP 250+ and its importance to its networks. They will also nominate eligible SMEs as well as mobilize their client and member constituents to nominate eligible SMEs to KIEP 250+. Additionally, they would be involved in identifying the SMEs gaps and/ or business improvement areas and act as a point of contact in case of the need for further information about the SMEs in relation to the project. 

Strengthened SMEs will be beneficial for the strategic partners (better suppliers, better financial customers etc.). Where possible, there will be PR recognition of the strategic partners. 

To participate in KIEP 250+, you need to register your interest by reaching out to the KIEP 250+ team by writing an email to




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