By ThingsKenya Writer
The KCB Foundation, the social investment arm of the KCB Group has commenced training of at least 272 youths from the Western Kenya region on enterprise development, setting them up for opportunities under its flagship 2Jiajiri programme. This is in addition to 464 beneficiaries trained last year on Fish Farming in order to capitalize on the opportunities within the ‘Blue Economy’ in the same region.
Technical training courses in this discipline were provided by partner technical and vocational training (TVET) institutions in Siaya, Kisumu and Busia Counties.
Having successfully acquired the technical skill, now the same youths, have been enrolled to the stage two of 2Jiajiri for Business Development Services (BDS) to enable them set up their own businesses and effectively employ themselves and another 5 youths.
A critical part of this stage is the entrepreneurship support component where the beneficiaries will continue to receive consultancy and advisory support for their fledgling enterprises.
The BDS support teams are constituted from fresh graduates drawn from leading local universities to offer legal, marketing and financial management services to the enterprises established by young people in the 2Jiajiri programme.
This involves enabling the young entrepreneurs to better tackle the accounting, legal and marketing aspects of their businesses and in particular, preparing them to qualify for financial services including business loans offered by mainstream financial institutions.
34 youths of the 272 beneficiaries from the Western Region who completed their Business Plans and jumped the handles of due diligence were issued with Ksh. 5.2 million. They will serve as an inspiration to the others to hasten their speed in completing their Business Plans for funding.
The beneficiaries who hail from Siaya, Busia and KisumuCounties, have qualified to receive zero-rated loans tosupport the establishment and growth of their ownbusinesses mainly in the fishing industry.
“We are focused on supporting entrepreneurs and holding their hands through the journey as a way of driving entrepreneurship and economic empowerment in the country,” said KCB Foundation Executive Director Jane Mwangi.
“Financing is targeted to increase their incomes which will immediately impact their respective households. We will support them in growing their fishing activities through purchase of value chain items such as fishing nets, motor boats, engine, and fish feed among others,” she said during the handover at the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University of Science and Technology in Bondo.
The funding comes a fortnight after the foundation issued other cheques worth Ksh10 Million to close to 500 youths in Bungoma who are into Soya beans and sunflower farming.
Statistics show that with an annual demand for fish standing at over 400,000 tonnes, Kenya is currently able to meet only 200,000 tonnes or 50 per cent.
“This means that there are significant opportunities for enterprise in the fishing industry, particularly in this part of Kenya we are confident that with the right kind of support, young people will play a leading role in revitalizing the fishing sector and thereby catalyzejob creation,” said the KCB Foundation Executive Director.
The adoption of modern fish farming and harvesting methods should result inincreased incomes and reduction of household poverty in addition to other socio-economic vulnerabilities.
The 2Jiajiri programme was launched in March 2016 with an intention to empower 10,000 youth every year engaged in the informal sector to establish their own businesses and become employers in their own right. The programme encourages and supports the growth and development of these youth micro-enterprises to the level that they will each employ at least 5 young people. This translates to over 250,000 jobs created directly by the youth for the youth through this initiativewithin 5 years.
So far, 2jiajiri has graduated over 5,000 students in TVET technical training, with another 1,000 young businessmen and women establishing and growing their enterprises with the support of Business Development Services (BDS).