Do Standards Stiffle Start Ups?

Microbial cultures fridge by Retama – Own work. Licensed under GFDL via Wikimedia Commons.

Standards are there to ensure that consumers have access to quality products but sometimes they end up locking out many entrepreneurs from accessing the wider market. Safety should not mean locking out budding entrepreneurs. Getting certified can be so frustrating, expensive and tedious that an entrepreneur wishing to have access to the wider market is unable to.  I would like to imagine myself as a budding entrepreneur. Let’s say that I intend to sell skin care products and want to be able to stock my products in the supermarket (most would like to sell certified products). I’m going to have to get the Kenya Bureau of Standards Certification. It’s going to be  a tedious process. As a budding entrepreneur one may not have the money required to get certified, only an established company would be able to comfortably get certified. In essence without certification one is locked out of the wider market and the certification process is not all that clear. One should for example be able to get all the information regrading prices and processes in the public domain and the best systems to adopt if any. It should be flexible enough to allow budding entrepreneurs to thrive without putting them on the same level with companies worth millions. If for instance mercury is a forbidden ingredient the the certifying agency should advice manufacturers of skin care products what not to include. The agency should also tell consumers and manufacturers about various ingredients and their side effects. If for example parabens is not a good preservative, the agency should explain to consumers why and give alternatives. That makes work so much easier without making a manufacturer feel like a criminal for not knowing which procedure to follow. Ideally such an agency should help the budding entrepreneur thrive. Quality standards should not be so stringent and expensive that a budding entrepreneur is unable to break into the market. That’s stifling entrepreneurship. Further, if there are standards to be followed then the certifying bureau should show clients how to easily meet those standards (that’s how to encourage entrepreneurship). It should provide the know-how and be affordable enough to any entrepreneur. It’s the same way with encouraging entrepreneurship, capital is made accessible and market skills and knowledge provided. It’s about empowering the entrepreneur.The irony is that GMO seeds/food get into the market undetected. What about rumours of the abortifacient tetanus vaccine laced with the hCG (1) hormone to induce spontaneous abortions? Is there anyone to oversee the content of drugs, fertilizers and vaccines that Kenyans continue to use (some of which are banned in their countries of origin). Is it not wise to allow into the market products whose composition and side effects we understand in order to preserve the natural and organic integrity of our products?


(1) See


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s