Strathmore University partnered with Allan and Gill Gray Philanthropy Africa (AGGPA) to run a Young Entrepreneurs Programme (YEP) facilitated by Strathmore University Business School (SBS). The purpose of the partnership is to equip young entrepreneurs with lifelong skills, values and habits for a successful future.
On 3rd August 2019, SBS hosted AGGPA’s first-ever National awards celebrating Kenya’s next generation of change-makers. The event was set to honour top YEP students and groups of high school students who took part in a similar programme at a high school level.
AGGPA has a deep concern for poverty and unemployment in Africa. The foundation makes a positive contribution to society through empowerment and transformation initiatives. In Kenya, the youth unemployment situation is particularly in dire need of assistance. For instance, the World Bank noted that in the period 1998-2005, aggregate unemployment fell from 15% to 12.5%, but the share of the youth in unemployment rose from 60% to 72%. The rate of joblessness is at 40% for youth or an estimated 5.2 million young adults. As of December 2018, the unemployment rate is at 9.3%, our youth are still battling unemployment.
In her opening remarks, Dr Roselyn Marandu Kareithi, Allan Gray foundation Country Director, expressed the need for high impact, responsible entrepreneurs, saying, “We salute you as brave pioneers of a new journey championing the message of a new way of thinking.” Dr Rose further encourage the participants and those who wish to follow in their path. She quoted Barak Obama, former American President, saying “We did not come here to fear the future we came here to shape it.”
Mrs Grace Ndungu, Head of Sales, Marketing, Communications and Partnerships at SBS, on behalf of the University’s Dean, welcomed everyone to the event. She went on to emphasize how SBS seeks to be a part of culture change, especially for youth as entrepreneurs. “We at SBS are not training but transforming,” said Mrs Ndungu.
The event replete with young aspiring high school students and youth kicked off with a presentation from 15-year-old Martha Waitherero of Graceland Girls Senior School on her team’s project. The young lady perfectly poised in her demeanour, seeming sure about her findings and convinced of the possible outcomes of their innovative idea. Martha spoke confidently to the crowd as her team members looked on in pride. ‘Edu Easy’ is the idea, a USSD system that enables parents to receive real-time details on all their child’s school-related financial and health activities. The already active project came in 1st in the category of high school business projects, winning Ksh. 60,000 to go towards further realizing their project ideas.
In the YEP category, ‘Vortex’ came in first with an innovative idea set to revolutionize the world of interning in Kenya. Other awards went to the top teacher, Mr Paul Kiplagat and the top high school, Graceland Girls Senior School. The overall top participant award went to Martha Waitherero, winning a trip to Silicon Valley in San Francisco, California.
Lastly, was a panel discussion on youth and entrepreneurship chaired by the M.C of the day, Amina Abdi Rabar. The panellists encouraged everyone to work towards teaching a culture where children note problems and come up with solutions to manage them. The panel offered key points of advice to aspiring entrepreneurs saying, “always ensure your idea is trying to solve a societal problem, note that it is not always about capital and always consider the scalability of your business”.
There is an exciting opportunity for graduates aged between 21-35 years who are passionate aspiring entrepreneurs to apply for an exciting opportunity to develop their capacity in entrepreneurship and to gain relevant experience to build impactful social enterprises in East Africa through Bridge2Rwanda. Applications deadline is 19th August and can be submitted here: https://bit.ly/31GGEEs.