Financing Sustainability and Growth for Kenyan Green SMEs

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Financing Sustainability and Growth for Kenyan Green SMEs
This article covers:
Challenges and Opportunities in Green Financing for Kenyan SMEs
Innovative Private Sector Financing Solutions
Strategies for SMEs to Leverage Green Financing

Small businesses are not just the backbone of job creation and economic growth; they are pivotal in building a greener, fairer future. Globally, they constitute 90% of all businesses and employ over half the workforce.

In Kenya, they account for approximately 34-50% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and employ over 80% of the country's workforce. This gives them enormous potential to drive eco-friendly initiatives and create inclusive opportunities.

As we tackle climate change, the participation of small businesses is crucial. Financing sustainability-driven businesses in Kenya is paramount for fostering sustainable economic growth. Innovative financing methods can unlock the growth potential of SMEs while promoting environmental sustainability.

Understanding Green Financing

Green financing involves directing funds towards sustainable projects that have a positive environmental impact. For Kenyan SMEs, this can be transformative, enabling them to adopt eco-friendly practices, reduce carbon emissions, and enhance their market competitiveness.

Challenges Faced by Green SMEs

Despite the clear benefits, Green SMEs often encounter significant hurdles in securing financing. Traditional lenders may perceive them as high-risk due to the perceived uncertainty of green projects. Additionally, there is often a lack of awareness and understanding of sustainable business models among financial institutions.

Opportunities for Green SME Financing

Opportunities for Green SME Financing

Going green is not just good for the planet; it’s good for business. There are ample opportunities for SMEs to secure funding to achieve their sustainable goals.

  • Investor Interest: More investors are now keen to back companies that benefit the planet as well as generate profits. This means green businesses have a better chance of securing funding.

  • Bank Support: Financial institutions are beginning to consider climate impact when lending money. This opens doors for green businesses to access loans, expertise, and connections to investors.

  • Government Programs: Various government ministries offer grants, tax breaks, and other support for businesses that operate sustainably. For instance, the National Environment Management Authority’s Adaptation Fund (NIE Kenya) and the Nairobi International Financial Center provide green finance to pro-sustainability SMEs. Applications can be made online on their websites.

Examples of Innovative Private Sector Financing Solutions

  • Peercarbon’s Climate-Fintech Platform: Peercarbon, a Kenyan climate-fintech startup, helps SMEs measure, manage, and reduce CO2 emissions through science-based tools. By offering carbon accounting software, Peercarbon connects SMEs with green finance providers, facilitating their transition to sustainable operations.

  • Proparco and NCBA Group Partnership: Proparco and NCBA Group have collaborated to support green financing in Kenya. This partnership provides financial products tailored for green projects, with a focus on promoting sustainable development and women’s economic empowerment.

  • Kilsah Consulting’s Approach: Kilsah Consulting champions sustainable financing for African Green SMEs by emphasizing the critical role of financial institutions in supporting environmentally friendly initiatives. Their strategy involves integrating sustainability into the core business strategy of SMEs, leading to long-term economic and environmental benefits.

Impact on Sustainable Economic Growth

Financing Green SMEs can have a profound impact on Kenya's economy. By enabling these businesses to implement sustainable practices, they can contribute to reducing the country's carbon footprint and fostering a greener economy. Sustainable SMEs often demonstrate resilience and long-term viability, driving economic stability and job creation.

How SMEs Can Leverage Green Financing

How SMEs Can Leverage Green Financing

To fully capitalize on green financing, SMEs should:

  • Understand and Quantify Environmental Impact: Tools like carbon accounting software can help businesses measure their emissions and identify areas for improvement.

  • Develop a Clear Sustainability Strategy: Aligning business goals with environmental objectives can make SMEs more attractive to green finance providers.

  • Engage with Innovative Financing Platforms: Platforms like Peercarbon offer valuable resources and connections to green finance providers, facilitating easier access to funding.

Partnering with DHL

Businesses aiming for sustainable expansion can benefit from partnering with DHL. By opening a business account with DHL, SMEs can access logistics solutions that support sustainable practices, such as carbon-neutral shipping options. This partnership can help SMEs reduce their environmental impact while enhancing operational efficiency.


Financing Green SMEs in Kenya is crucial for promoting sustainable economic growth. By addressing the challenges and leveraging innovative financing solutions, these businesses can unlock their growth potential and contribute to a greener future. Now is the perfect time for green SMEs to seize these opportunities and lead the charge towards a sustainable tomorrow.