326 new businesses registered daily in three months as Kenyans turn to self-employment

Company registrar
Kenyans jostle at the companies' registrar. [Photo: NMG]

A total of 326 new businesses were registered daily between July and September this year following President Uhuru Kenyatta’s move to reopen the economy partially.

This is according to data from the companies’ registry. In the last three months to September, a total of 29,941 new companies were registered.

This was a 95% jump from a similar period last year where only 19,998 business were registered.

The new businesses were registered amid an economic blow in all sectors with thousands losing jobs while others had to settle for pay cuts.

“The number of registered businesses went up significantly starting the month of June this year. There may have arisen need for individuals who may have lost their means of earning a living to register a business to engage in some form of entrepreneurial activity for their sustenance,” Business Registration Services (BRS) director-general Kenneth Gathuma told the Business Daily.

Private companies registered also increase to 15,681 between July and September which accounted for a 28% rise.

In 2019, only 12,236 private companies were registered between July and September.

The jump in the registration of new business was informed by the need for survival after massive job losses in the formal sector.

An economist, Tony Watima supported this theory saying that the COVID-19 pandemic thrust scores of Kenyans into survival mode and new businesses were the next best option.

“It shows that Covid-19 economic effects have hit the formal sector harder and pushed many more into the self-employment for survival,” he said.

A dusk-to-dawn curfew imposed in late March dealt the economy a huge blow as it growth shrunk by 5.7 percent. At least 1.72 million Kenyans lost their jobs during the pandemic.

External debt also increased as the government borrowed to cushion the economy from complete repression.