SMEs and Ventures

2,500 fashion creators from Kenyan poised to enter the global market

EFI’s business model, as a flagship programme of the International Trade Centre (ITC), has achieved 15 years of success in promoting sustainable and high-quality fashion products on a global scale. The programme emphasizes circular design and production, encouraging creators to develop durable and reusable products with the ultimate goal of achieving zero waste.

In Kenya, approximately 2,500 individuals from marginalized communities are expected to benefit from specialized training, improved working conditions, and increased market access, thanks to partnerships with prominent international fashion firms.

EFI officially launched its new three-year project on April 17th, in collaboration with the Embassy of Italy in Kenya and the Nairobi office of the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS). The Italian Government is providing funding for this project, which aims to foster sustainable fashion production and job creation in Kenya.

The launch event took place at the Don Bosco Training Centre in Nairobi, which serves as the project’s main incubation hub. Distinguished guests in attendance included Susan Mang’eni, Principal Secretary in the State Department of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) Development; Mercy Wanjau, Secretary to the Cabinet of the Republic of Kenya; Roberto Natali, Ambassador of Italy; Giovanni Grandi, Head of the AICS Regional Office in Nairobi; Stephen Jackson, the United Nations Resident Coordinator for Kenya; Alex Musembi, co-founder of Africa Collect Textiles; and Lilian Kahiro, Director of Ushinde.

Giovanni Grandi, head of AICS Nairobi, expressed the program’s mission, stating, “By empowering artisans, micro-producers, and entrepreneurs, our aim is to pave the way for inclusive and sustainable economic growth. Employment and business creation are fundamental pillars of the Italian Cooperation’s commitment in Kenya, and through this initiative, we aim to harness the potential offered by the incredible entrepreneurial drive of the Kenyan population, particularly its youth.”

Jackson stated that Kenyan artisans possess exceptional creative skills, but they often lack the necessary access to international markets and systems to elevate their production. In the rapidly evolving world of global fashion, this ITC initiative aims to bridge that gap by combining local and international expertise, creating a mutually beneficial situation.

Mang’eni emphasized the importance of collaborating with small businesses, particularly those that employ women and youth, for Kenya’s economic growth. These efforts enable these businesses to enhance their competitiveness in domestic, regional, and global trade.

Expressing her delight, she commended the Ethical Fashion Initiative for its successful track record in supporting MSMEs within the fashion value chain. Launching this project in Kenya will not only generate new employment opportunities but also showcase the country’s inherent creative and productive capacities.

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