Covid shut down sparks surge in company registrations in Kenya

New business registrations at the Attorney General’s office during the Covid-19 pandemic surged by more than half as economic fallout pushed many Kenyans into entrepreneurship to seek state tenders and in the wake of layoffs and job cuts.

Data from the Registrar of Companies shows that the number of business names registered between April and November – the eight months when the economy was partially shut down with Covid-19 – jumped by 58.5% to 65,782, compared to 41,490 in the same period last year.

Kenya’s economy shrank by 5.7% in the second three months of 2020, its first quarterly contraction since the global financial crisis 12 years ago, as the pandemic caused businesses to close and kept people at home. This compared with growth of 4.9% in the three months through to March and 5.3% in the same period a year earlier.

The new business registrations were driven by Kenyans seeking to start small businesses as the pandemic measures led to job cuts and unpaid leave for retained staff. Many had their eyes set on winning government tenders for goods and services.

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