Business Ireland Kenya (BIK) is an association that facilitates business networking opportunities for its members. We provide a platform and support structure for sharing information on business experiences in Kenya and Ireland, including local context, knowledge, opportunities, challenges, lessons learnt and interpretations of the countries’ evolving statutory and regulatory environments.
BIK is an initiative of the Embassy of Ireland in Kenya and was launched in December 2013 during the visit of former Minister of State for Trade and Development Joe Costello. Prior to that, a group of Irish business people had formed a more informal network that met to discuss some of the bottlenecks for doing business in Kenya and to identify areas of common interest and concern. This served as the basis of BIK.
Today, we meet regularly and provide an online community for members to connect with opportunities and queries. BIK membership is open to Kenyan, Irish and international business people whose work promotes trade between the two countries.
BIK is led by a steering committee, co-chaired by the Irish Ambassador and an elected committee member. The committee comprises a further six volunteers who are experts in their fields of business and are voted in by the BIK membership. Scroll down to meet the current steering committee.
Darren Gillen Director Kartriges Kenya Chairman BIK
BIK At A Glance
Business Ireland Kenya will act as a conduit to other networks, service providers and linkages to potential local business partners for new Irish entrants to the Kenya market.
We also strive to enhance the facilitation of mutually beneficial relationships with other Kenyan and Irish entities promoting Irish interests in Kenya and between Kenya and Ireland, such as the office of the Irish Embassy, Enterprise Ireland, the Kenya Irish Society, Inter Nations, civil society and faith based organisations and institutions and to promote linkages to Irish business networks in other African countries – such as the Business Ireland South Africa (BISA), Tanzania and other regions.
- To allow Irish persons doing or wishing to start business in Kenya to have a focal support organisation to call upon.
- To ensure Irish people doing business are aware of each other and can provide mutual support.
- To ensure business and trade grows between Ireland and Kenya.
- To make Irish people better aware of business opportunities in the region.
The objectives of the Business Ireland Kenya Network are as follows:
- To provide networking opportunities for BIK members through the convening of regular meetings.
- To be better informed of the business environment and jointly address bottlenecks to doing business in Kenya and the wider region.
- To provide contacts and information that can be of use to BIK members – including through the development and servicing of a dedicated BIK website.
- To establish links with similar business networks in Kenya, with key business associations/representative organisations in Kenya and with other Embassy of Ireland supported business networks in Africa.
- The network is established to serve the interests of its members.
- The BIK will be co-chaired by the Ambassador of the Embassy of Ireland and an agreed representative of the Irish business community in Kenya.
- The work of the BIK will be planned by an oversight group comprising four to six BIK members. These will be nominated by the BIK, approved by the co-chairs, and serve for a period of 12 months (which can be extended).
- The BIK will be registered as a ‘Society’ with the nomination and approval of co-chairs, a treasurer and two account signatories. A formal report will be prepared each year and presented to BIK members for approval at an ‘end of year’ gathering of members each December.
- A schedule of meetings will be agreed at the beginning of each year. BIK members will be advised at least six weeks in advance of the dates of forthcoming meetings
- Exceptional meetings may be organised to coincide with events such as Ministerial or Trade visits, etc.
- BIK will meet on a quarterly basis. As a rule, breakfast meetings will be convened for a period of two hours, from 7.30 to 9.30am. An ‘end of year’ business/social event will we planned each December.
- Each meeting will focus on the presentation of key updates and a focus on at least one theme of relevance and interest to BIK members.
- Costs of BIK will be met jointly through a subvention from the Embassy and contribution from BIK members.
THE TIES BETWEEN IRELAND & KENYA
Ireland’s relationship with Kenya has a long history. Irish missionaries have contributed to Kenyan society for over a century, creating a legacy seen today in the work of Irish based non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
In the past, the Ireland’s embassies in Africa prioritised administering aid agreements, but the country’s new foreign policy provides for more balanced and mutually beneficial relationships. Embassies now engage in broader range of activities, including development cooperation partnerships, promotion of Irish business, and establishment of economic links and exchange in the arenas of sports and culture.
The Ireland-Kenya relationship features the Irish government’s official aid programme and Irish Aid, as well as Irish companies planning or already doing business with Kenya.
Irish businesses have been operating in Kenya for many years, recognising the opportunities available in the region’s largest economy. Additionally, Kenya plays a leading role in the political, monetary and economic integration of the East African Community. Through population growth, increased development, economic strength and changing consumption patterns, Kenya has become an attractive venue for increased investment and trading relationships with Ireland.
Trade between the two countries has grown significantly in recent years – spiking by 110 percent between 2005 and 2014 – and is expected to continue to grow in the future. Irish companies have continued to work in the country, and Kenyan companies are beginning to trade in Ireland to export locally produced products.
The Embassy of Ireland in Kenya opened in 2014 – one of eight opened that year and the 10th opened in sub-Saharan Africa – after previously closing an Embassy in Kenya in 1988 for economic reasons.
The Embassy in Kenya is staffed by three diplomatic officers from Ireland, who work with locally recruited staff to fulfil their responsibilities, including furthering the ties between Kenya and Ireland. From an economic perspective, this is achieved through the support of Irish businesses operating in Kenya.
Embassy staff also provide consular services for the approximately 1,500 Irish citizens in Kenya, support some development programmes funded by Irish Aid, promote Ireland’s culture and interests and represent Ireland at important political meetings and events.
In 2007, recognising the good relations between Ireland and Kenya, the Government of Kenya opened an Embassy in Dublin.