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We’ve all been there.

You’re in a cash flow crunch, and you need money fast. Maybe you need to purchase equipment or some needed stock, but you have no cash available.

Perhaps you have an excellent opportunity to expand your business, but you don’t have the funds to take advantage of it.

The following is a list of some of the best places to get small business loans:

Friends and family

If you’re fortunate enough to have supportive family and friends, you can consider seeking a small business loan from them. This option can be flexible in terms of repayment and interest rates, but it’s crucial to have an explicit agreement in place to avoid straining personal relationships.

Also, it is critical to manage expectations when you borrow money from friends and family. Here are things to consider before taking a business loan from friends and family:

Communication and Clarity: Open and honest communication is crucial. Discuss the terms, expectations, and potential risks upfront. Ensure both parties have a clear understanding of the loan’s purpose, repayment schedule, and interest (if any).

  • The written agreement document should outline the loan amount, interest rate (if applicable), repayment schedule, and any collateral or guarantees.
  • If your friends or family expect interest on the loan, discuss and agree upon a fair rate.
  • Create a realistic repayment plan that aligns with your business’s cash flow. Make sure you can meet the agreed-upon terms without jeopardizing the relationship.
  • Treat the loan as you would with any other lender. Maintain professionalism and respect the agreement. This includes making payments on time, providing updates on your business’s financial health, and being accountable.

Saccos/Credit Uninons

A business loan from a Sacco can be a great source of loans for small business owners. If you need money fast, the requirements and approval process are much easier than applying for a loan from the bank.

How to get a Business Loan From a Sacco:

1. Research and find a Sacco that is suitable for your business.

2. Complete your application to join the Sacco.

3. Contribute your share capital into Sacco’s account and pay membership fees.

4. Start saving with the Sacco, as well as making monthly contributions according to your plan.

5. Make sure you have contributed to the Sacco for at least six months to qualify for loans.

It is always advisable to join a Sacco where you can get guarantors because most Saccos only give out loans that other members guarantee. The total loan that you might get is usually three times your savings.

Commercial Banks

A bank is the most traditional place to get a business loan, but it can be an expensive source of funds. The interest rates on loans from banks tend to be higher than from other sources, and the application process can be more stringent.

Also, banks usually have stricter collateral requirements than other financial institutions.

One significant advantage of going to a bank is that they can provide more money than other options.

Suppose you have an already established relationship with a bank you trust; the bank may be your best option. You can also build a long-term relationship with the institution if you choose this route.

Before getting a loan, your business must be well-established and make enough money to afford to pay back what it borrows comfortably.

Your business’ financials must be in good shape, too. Banks typically won’t lend to businesses with too much debt or negative cash flow.

At the moment, Equity Bank, NCBA Loop, and Stanbic are the only banks in Kenya that give out loans to small businesses without many demands. As long as you have been a customer and have some form of collateral, Equity, NCBA, and Standbic can sort you out. 

Other banks like KCB and Cooperative Bank mostly give out loans to civil servants and employees of reputable organizations. 

Mobile loan apps

If you need a quick loan to sort out a business emergency, then you might consider using mobile loan apps. These apps can be an excellent option for people who hate applying for loans at banks and other financial institutions.

The first step in getting a mobile loan is finding an app you like. There are many mobile loan apps out there, but it is essential to find one with good user reviews. A good review will tell you if an app is reliable and if it will provide you with the funds you need.

After selecting an app, download it and create an account with your personal information. You must input basic information such as your name, address, phone number, email address, and precise location on the mobile loan app.

Once this is done, they may ask additional questions such as your source of income, how much you need, how you will pay the loan, etc.

The next step in getting your mobile loan approved is filling out their electronic loan application form, which only takes about five minutes from start until finish.

After submitting everything online, wait for them to approve it. Once approved, they’ll send the cash to the line registered on the app. 

The main downside of getting loans from mobile loans apps is that they charge higher interest rates than traditional lenders. But if you need money quickly, these mobile loan apps can be an alternative to consider.

Examples of mobile loan lending apps

  • Tala
  • Fuliza
  • KCB Mpesa
  • Mshwari
  • Timiza
  • Branch
  • OKash
  • Zenka
  • IPesa

Microfinance institutions

Microfinance institutions offer financial services, such as savings and checking accounts, business training, business loans, and microinsurance.

Many of these institutions work with government agencies, NGOs, and community organizations to ensure access to capital for low-income entrepreneurs.

Examples of Microfinance institutions in Kenya are KWFT, Faulu, Century, Musoni, Smep, Rafiki, etc.

Microfinance institutions require applicants to meet specific criteria before qualifying for a business loan. For example, for KWFT, an applicant should be a registered member of a chama or a group. So the members co-guarantee each other loans.

Protip: Most microfinance banks are not friendly when you default on loan payments. They will take anything and everything in your house and business if you are unable to pay.

Youth Enterprise Development fund

Youth Enterprise Development Fund is a state corporation under the Ministry of Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs.

Youth enterprise loans are given to those wanting to start or expand small businesses. The only catch is that you must be below 35 years old to qualify for a Youth Fund.

How much can you borrow?

There are three types of loans available at the Youth Enterprise Development Fund:

  • Startup loans
  • Expansion loans
  • Stock financing

The amount one can borrow depends on your business type and the type of loan you are eligible for.

The upper limit is based on the validity of your business or project and the likelihood of repayment.

Loans range from Kshs 10,000 to Kshs 5 million. The interest rate and commission are based on the type of loan you are applying for. The loan has a maximum repayment period of up to five years, depending on the business activity and cash flow projections.

The requirements for loan application include:

  • A completed application form
  • A detailed business plan
  • Valid contract where applicable
  • Certified copy of ID or passport
  • Audited accounts for existing businesses or bank statements for at least three months
  • Collateral details, e.g., a title deed, motor vehicle logbook, and guarantee from the employer

Venture capital

Venture capital is an investment in a private company with high growth potential. The investor usually receives a stake in the company and, if it goes well, makes a return by selling their stake when another business buys the company or when the company experiences exponential growth.

Venture capital can be a great source of financing for companies that meet the fund’s investment criteria. Some venture capital firms fund early-stage or startup businesses, while others provide expansion capital to later-stage companies.

Venture capitalists want to see a good return on their investments, so they usually invest in businesses with high growth potential or those that will generate a lot of revenue.

They also tend to examine the team behind the business and may offer helpful advice or introductions. However, venture capitalists typically get heavily involved in running the company to ensure it meets its financial projections.

Also, they take an equity stake in the company rather than a debt position, so you’ll lose some control of your business.

Here are some examples of venture capital firms available for Kenyan businesses:

  • Fanisi Capital
  • Adullam Investments
  • Enza Capital
  • East Africa Capital Partners
  • AFZA Capital
  • Angumi Global Capital

Incubators and accelerators

Incubators and accelerators can be a place to get a small business loan. They serve as networks of support for entrepreneurs — particularly new ones — by taking on the task of equipping their ventures with resources to succeed.

Incubators are more likely to work with you at the earliest stages of your venture. At the same time, accelerators tend to focus on later-stage entrepreneurs who have already established a business and have a product or service.

Accelerators are similar to incubators but typically don’t provide as much support. Because of this, they tend to focus on companies with some experience under their belts — not complete startups.

These programs usually require you to attend a “boot camp” of some sort — typically for three months — where you work closely with mentors, investors, and fellow entrepreneurs focused on helping you grow your company.

Examples of Incubators and accelerators available for Kenyan businesses include:

  • Antler Kenya
  • GrowthAfrica
  • Nailab
  • Pangea Accelerator
  • StartUpAfrica
  • The Baobab Network
  • iBizAfrica
  • iHub


Crowdfunding is a method of raising capital in which funding is sought from many people, typically via the internet. This is an excellent option for financing your business if you don’t have access to traditional financing options like a bank loan or venture capital.

Before you decide to crowdfund your business, make sure it’s appropriate for the type of funding you need. If your goal is to raise millions of dollars, then crowdfunding will not be a good fit for your needs.

To get the most out of crowdfunding, keep these things in mind:

  • Have an active social media presence before you start your crowdfunding campaign.
  • Keep your fundraising goal reasonable, and don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Final Thoughts

Small business loans are available to both established and startup businesses. There are plenty of places to get a business loan, so you shouldn’t worry if you don’t get it on your first attempt. We hope you found this article helpful on where to access business loans.

We’d love to hear from you. Did we miss any small business loan providers? Let us know in the comments section.