The commonwealth Secretariat (COMSEC) has been extending to technical and financial support to EPC since 2007. The assistance aims at enhancing EPC’s capacity to deliver services to its clients with a view to making them competitive in the international markets. The assistance to EPC has been in the following components;

1.2 Product Development and Adaptation

The assistance aims at assisting companies in the commercial crafts and textiles (hand-loomed) products and accessories to improve their product offerings and competitiveness through product design, development and test-marketing.

International consultants (specialist on textiles and accessories and sculpture) have been retained by COMSEC, to assist the groups through training and on-site couching.  In addition to assisting exporting companies, the International consultants are expected to enhance the capacity of EPC Sector Champions as well as local designers.  The newly designed products will later be show-cased in an International Exhibition for test-marketing

In the medium to long term the assistance is expected to facilitate the carrying out of a feasibility study for establishing a Centre for Product Design and Development (CPDD) and actual establishment of the CPDD in Kenya. The main objective of the Product design and development interventions is to improve the designs and quality of Kenya’s commercial crafts to comply with international market requirements resulting in market-led production. Product development will result in the implementation of production technologies and processes necessary to make the transition of operations from basic level to semi-industrialised production of market-led products.

1.2 Development of SME Training Module
The COMSEC financed a 4-day training workshop dubbed the ‘Export Business and Marketing Management for Women Entrepreneurs in the Handicrafts sector’. The training took place from 13th to 16th May 2008.

The main objective of the workshop was to provide learning experiences that will equip women owners of small and medium enterprise (SME) to improve their business operations and/or provide advice and training to others. It was also aimed at further improving the competitiveness and strengthening the long-term viability of women-owned businesses. Specifically, the workshop enabled the participants to expand their knowledge of:

Entrepreneurial, business management and problem-solving skills; and
Business, marketing and financial planning required in operating a successful business enterprise.

At the end of the workshop, participants indicated that they would be able to:

Develop basic business, marketing and financial plans for their businesses;-Develop and maintain appropriate records (inputs record, sales record, budgets, financial tables etc) which are required for modern business planning and management;
Apply the Costing and Pricing principles in their businesses. This particular topic was very much   appreciated by the participants.

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