Diamond Trust Bank (DTB) will advance at least Sh1.6 billion to Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) this year to aid in Covid-19 recovery, the Bank’s leadership announced.

DTB Board Chairman Linus Gitahi said the bank would place particular emphasis on MSMEs that are led by women.

Gitahi spoke at a breakfast meeting hosted by the DTB to celebrate its women-owned and managed MSME customers at Nairobi's Artcaffe, on 14 Riverside in Nairobi.

“We all know that the pandemic had a terrible impact on our lives and livelihoods. Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) felt the brunt of the pandemic-induced harsh economic conditions that characterized much of 2020. The National Treasury selected DTB as one of the participating banks to provide access to financing for Kenyan MSMEs under the Credit Guarantee Scheme,” said Gitahi.

On his part, DTB Head of Branches and Alternate Channels George Otiende noted that DTB is expected to advance the bulk of the funding, Sh1.2 billion, by June this year.

“Of the Sh1.6 billion that was allocated to DTB, 30 per cent should go to women, youth and persons living with disability. We’re calling upon registered businesses across all sectors, for any financing needs including working capital, term loans or asset financing to take advantage of the facility,” he added.

Otiende said this would be in addition to other measures taken to help businesses get back on their feet by replenishing their working capital, aiding acquisition of business assets and recovery from the impact of Covid-19 pandemic.

DTB held the meeting as part of its efforts to deepen financial literacy and business acumen among its women-led MSME customers.

Guest speakers were Qhala CEO Dr Shikoh Gitau, Honeycomb Jewellery founder Nafisa Rayani, and Julie Gichuru, Head of Public Affairs and Communication at the Mastercard Foundation.

Drawing from their career lessons, the guest speakers urged entrepreneurs to adapt to change and reengineer their businesses to take advantage of new trends and habits in the digital age.

Dr Gitau asked the entrepreneurs to digitise and digitalise their businesses.

“They sound very alike. There is digitisation and there is digitalisation. The first one is very simple, because you convert your forms and other records into digital formats. Digitilisation is turning your business into something digital. It means you are moving your business from brick and mortar into something digital,” said Dr Gitau.

Drawing from her experiences from school through several career changes, Gichuru urged the entrepreneurs to be humble and learn to adapt and understand changes in communication.

“The ability to be humble and accept that we don’t know everything is one of the most powerful things in the world, and it’s what will drive success from failure,” said Gichuru.