The Kenyan Business Regulatory Environment – Webinar

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Many of Kenya’s entrepreneurs especially start-ups and Micro small medium enterprises face numerous challenges navigating the regulatory environment leading to a high informality rate of 79% (KNBS MSME Report 2016).

The state of high informality leads to lack of sufficient data for government as well as other stakeholders in the entrepreneurship ecosystem to make policies and design specific interventions needed to develop and nurture the growth of SMEs. The overall net effect is Kenyan SMEs have a reduced chance to becoming globally competitive.

Source: Kenyan Regulatory Guide

The mortality rate for Kenyan SMEs is at 75% where 3 out of 5 SMEs die within the first three years of operations. Some of the top reasons for business closure include: limited access to capital, small customer base (few paying customers), highly competitive environment and regulation challenges amongst others.


The Government has made steps in terms to increase the ease of doing business in Kenya so as to make Kenya the preferred destination for local and international investors. Under the Ministry of East Africa Community and Regional Development supported by UK KenyaTech hub among other partners including Viffaa Consult, they have created an SME Business regulatory toolkit that espouses to help SMEs:

  1. Engage with and understand the Kenyan regulatory environment in an easy and accessible manner
  2. Develop awareness to unblock regulatory barriers and enable SMEs in navigating regulatory complexities
  3. Assist in refining Kenya’s business regulatory environment through feedback

Brief about the toolkit:

  1. The online toolkit is broken down into for key business development stages and enumerates the regulatory requirements as well as identifies key regulators within each stage.
  • Plan Your Business
  • Launch Your Business
  • Manage Your Business
  • Grow Your Business

For each business development phase, it identifies the key challenges that entrepreneurs’ face which is termed as ‘thematic areas’ and recommends the relevant government agencies and highlights the support offered to SMEs based on the identified thematic areas.

  1. For a start, the toolkit has identified 10 sectors where entrepreneurs struggle when launching and running their business. The toolkit outlines the regulations for the following sectors below and the relevant government agencies where entrepreneurs can access key services:
  • Agriculture
  • Education
  • Energy
  • Health
  • Manufacturing
  • Tourism
  • ICT
  • Finance
  • Import-Export
  • Construction

The link to the free regulatory toolkit:

The Kenyan Business Regulatory Environment Webinar was hosted by the Association of Startups and SMEs Enablers of Kenya (ASSEK) that took place on 14th April 2021 where Victor Otieno, Managing Director, Viffa Consult unpacked the newly launched Kenyan Regulatory toolkit to help SMEs navigate the regulatory environment to increase their efficiency and scale their growth.  This session was moderated by Mercy Kimalat –  the Partnerships and Communication Manager of E4Impact Accelerator who also serves on the ASSEK Board as an Engagement Advisor.

Article written by: Mercy Kimalat,

Partnerships and Communication Manager – E4Impact Accelerator

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