The Lundin Foundation expands access to financing for small businesses in rural Kenya

by Eva Kigo July 20, 2021

After achieving exceptional results, the Turkana Catalyst Initiative (TCI) is evolving to become the Northern Growth Initiative and expanding into new communities in rural Kenya.  


In 2018 the Lundin Foundation partnered with the Department for International Development (DFID), Africa Oil and the Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA), in collaboration with Turkana County to address poverty and a lack of access to training and financing for small businesses. The result was the creation of the Turkana Catalyst Initiative (TCI) which was designed to offer small businesses intensive and practical training and help entrepreneurs develop skills that could be applied to management concepts and address unique challenges within their community.  


TCI’s innovative approach and practical delivery of technical assistance to entrepreneurs led to the success of the program,
which includes the following impacts: 

Summary of Beneficiaries

32 SMEs graduated 

33% women led

Profitability Growth 

65.15% of graduated SMEs have experienced growth in profitability 

Cumulative profits increased by $92,700 in 2018

Employment Creation 

49.4% of graduated SMEs have created additional employment 

79 jobs created

Improved Wages 

Average wage rate of employees is 38.4% higher than the national minimum wage from graduated SMEs, translating to $187.84 per month versus $135.72 national minimum wage per month

Business Operational Growth 

New contracts secured valued at $950,000 from graduated SMEs 

61.9% of graduated SMEs acquired new customers 

2 SMEs opened new branch locations for services offered 

3 SME expanded regional scope of service offering, including Coast of Kenya, Uganda and South Sudan

Improved Access to Financing 

$440,000 seed funding disbursed directly by the Foundation to graduated SMEs 

$79,000 additional financing secured by graduated SMEs from commercial banks 



In 2021 the Turkana Catalyst Initiative has now scaled up to become the Northern Growth Initiative and will focus on five new rural communities divided into two clusters. The program will reach 30 businesses in Isiolo and Samburu, Lamu, Tana River and Kilifi.