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Nation Media Group - Nation Builder
June/July 2010, Issue 4
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WELCOME TANZANIA, TOP 100 SMEs SURVEY GOES REGIONAL

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Following the commencement of this year’s Top 100 Small and Medium Sized Companies on May 17th, the survey will for the first time be conducted in Tanzania. This is set to coincide with the upcoming East Africa Market Protocol taking place on July 1, 2010, setting the stage for the development of an annual East African Top 100 Small and Medium Sized companies survey. In order for a company to qualify for the survey in Tanzania, it must have an annual turnover between Tsh. 1 billion to Tsh. 25 billion.

The East African edition of the survey is expected to differ from the current edition where survey participants submit three years of audited financial results as well as their job creation statistics, bearing in mind that not all industries are labour intensive. The best performing SME in the region will set the standard in their industry, provide benchmarks for other players in the same field, consequently contributing to their continued growth.

The signing into law of the Common Market Protocol in November 2009 and its full implementation in July this year will see the annual survey expanded into a regional affair. However, there is a need to establish the survey as the leading SME survey on a country specific level, in order to bank on key establishments as a result of the country specific survey, resulting in the East Africa Top 100 Mid-Sized company survey. Nonetheless, equity and credibility of the respective country surveys need to be built, with the purpose of creating awareness needed to drive the participation on the respective business leaders on a country level. Thus, the survey ends up being a representation of the entire SME community in the region.

Still on the East African front, Uganda launched its second edition of the survey dubbed Top 100 Mid-Sized Companies Club on June 15, 2010. Speaking during a business conference on April 8, 2010 in Kampala, Managing Editor Monitor Publications Dr. Gitahi Githinji confirmed that companies including new and old entrants in the club (survey) would be allowed to participate. The Top 100 club seeks to identify the top and fastest growing Small and Medium Sized Enterprise in terms of revenue generated. In order to compete, a company must have an annual turnover between Ush. 360 million to Ush. 25 billion. In line with the Ugandan government’s theme of poverty reduction and job creation, the Top 100 club encourages SMEs to develop their businesses further, in order to contribute to wealth and job creation in the country.

In Kenya, the survey was officially launched on May 17, 2010 during a ceremony at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, in preparation of the announcement of the winners on October 8, 2010. The survey, that recognizes Small and Medium Sized Companies in the region, is open to firms with a turnover between Ksh. 70 million and Ksh. 1 billion. Research firm Synovate, is currently conducting the second phase of the survey-collecting data from participants. Following the close for the submission of entries on August 30, 2010, KPMG will use the data to rank the participants in line with specific factors. Top 100 SMEs, an initiative of Nation Media Group business publication Business Daily and audit firm KPMG, seeks to identify and recognize Kenya’s top and fastest growing small and medium sized enterprises.

During the third edition of the Top 100 SMEs launch at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Mr. Robert Onyango, the project manager encouraged business associations to involve their rural-based members in the survey, citing, “This is not a Nairobi award. We need to get many more participants from rural Kenya.” Acting on this observation, Nation Media Group in conjunction with sponsors of the 2009 Kenya Top 100 survey Stanchart, Kenya Data Network (KDN), IFC, NSE, Sage Pastel and Strathmore Business School decided on the use of roadshows to rural areas (organized by IFC) as a tool of marketing the survey, as well as creating awareness amongst business practitioners in the area, separating them from briefcase businessmen.

Last year’s winner Mellech Engineering and Construction praised the survey, stating that it helped the company win new clients, enhance its profitability and territorial footprint. Apart from Kenya, the company has also expanded into Uganda, Southern Sudan and Rwanda. Past winners also include IT firm Cellulant and marketing firm Top Image.

In order to identify a Top 100 company, participants are required to submit data on seven financial indicators on a Financial Questionnaire. The Organizing Committee then looks out for other characteristics that would set the company apart from other companies in the same industry such as business confidence outlook, talent management policies, involvement in Corporate Social Responsibility and the role innovation plays in their operations. Nevertheless, the final Top 100 list is based on quantitative criteria and specific financial indicators, which add objectivity to the survey.

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