Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) has today launched an ambitious sh50 billion enterprise development programme geared towards birthing a new cadre of youthful entrepreneurs within the informal sector to ease the country’s unemployment crisis.
The programme dubbed “2JIAJIRI”, is expected to benefit at least 500,000 entrepreneurs in 5 years, thereby creating at least 2.5 million direct and indirect jobs.
KCB Group CEO Joshua Oigara said the main objective is to provide the beneficiaries with the vocational and enterprise development skills necessary to drive employment and wealth creation in selected sectors such agricultural enterprise, automotive engineering, construction, beauty and domestic services.
“We have worked out a comprehensive youth empowerment programme informed by our belief that the youth hold the greatest sway in the pace and trajectory that the East African economy will take into the future,” said Mr Oigara.
The Bank has set aside sh10 billion annually in the next five years towards driving this enterprise development programme over the funds which will be used largely to support small and medium businesses run by the youth.
“We want to dignify the informal sector and give it the skills-set needed to churn the next generation of businesses for the informal sector” he added.
While launching 2Jiajiri—which will be run through the KCB Foundation, KCB Group Chairman Ngeny Biwott said the programme fits well within Kenya government’s resolve to boost youth employment, potentially raising country’s economic prospects.
“We believe that through partnerships with organisations, we can redefine the youth unemployment challenges we are facing. We are committing to changing the youth narrative in the country,” said Mr. Biwott
The programme targets both existing (70 percent) and potential entrepreneurs (30 percent). For existing entrepreneurs, 2Jiajiri seeks to up skill and formalize the technical and enterprise skills of the selected youthful entrepreneurs. Upcoming entrepreneurs will receive technical skills, financial support for startups and business advisory services. Some of them will be linked to work-experience programmes to give them hands-on training while exposing them to market opportunities.
Already, 2,000 youths have begun classes in 89 institutions spread across the country for the various 3-6 months courses. After their training, the graduates will be put under a 12 months incubation programme.
“Entrepreneurship and innovation are an integral part of our DNA. We operate under innovative platforms and with an incubation programme, we will promote ideas, offer mentorship, provide concepts and methods to create an optimal environment for free enterprise,” added Mr Oigara.
Statistics indicate that a total of over 1.3 million new employment places need to be created annually to meet the rising demand for jobs. Practically, it is prudent that the ideal rate of Engineers: Technicians: Artisans is supposed to be 1:13:60 but Kenya is currently at 1:3:13.