The hustle of knowing how to keep records of accounts, register a company and pay taxes is now history, thanks to KCB Foundation’s 2Jiajiri youth empowerment programme. Young people who become part of the program and run their own businesses have a one year incubation period, where these services are supported by KCB at no cost.
The core services provided to these SMEs during the incubation period also include a credit facility and marketing knowledge. The experts who support the 2Jijairi beneficiaries are staff members on KCB salaries hence the SMEs do not incur any costs. The experts have constant visits with the beneficiaries under a business development Manager.
It is these kinds of support that have enabled beneficiaries like Collins Otieno Owiti, Sarah Mburu and Charles Gathungu among hundreds others to start businesses and earn a living within a short period of time. The focus of the program is in building and construction, automotive maintenance and repair, beauty and personal care, domestic services and agribusiness which KCB Foundation considers ‘the backbone of the informal sector in the economy.’
KCB Foundation recently commissioned the second cohort of beneficiaries, signaling its confidence in phase one. During the pilot phase of 2jiajiri in 2016, 2,234 students enrolled in the programme. They were trained in 114 vocational centres, spread across 20 counties. In the second phase, 10,000 beneficiaries both from foundation other partners joined the program, spread across 70 vocational training institutions in 28 counties.
According to the bank, “2jiajiri is all about liberating the youth from the expectation of selling their labour to the freedom of self-employment.” It is hoped that through the program to be undertaken across East Africa, young people can realize their potential as business owners and job creators by generating sustainable employment opportunities for themselves.
Kabira Bario is the Business Development Support Manager for Nairobi County. In his role, he says that he oversees all the program beneficiaries in the capital city. The only sector not being practiced is agribusiness, he says, naturally because of limited agricultural land in the city. “Most people are in eastlands. We also have those who run these businesses from eastlands but operate them in major business hubs, including the Central Business District”.
Collins Owiti is one of the 2Jiajiri beneficiaries that Kabira interacts with. “Collins has had tremendous growth and has moved from informal and formal. He can now apply for tenders in any mechanical electronics and general garage services needed,” he asserts.
Collins joined the program when he already had the skill. They supported him to grow business wise, by giving him a lawyer to help him register his business, an accountant assisted him with doing his books well, record keeping, a marketer is to help him write a business plan and help him create market linkages. For instance he has already opened a Facebook page to help him create a buzz about his services; a garage in Madaraka. Kabira is confident that when 2017 ends, Collins will have increased his workforce from the current two and will be making more money than the sh40, 000 net profits he makes today in a month.
The bank has already partnered with 22 other companies who are partners in the empowerment program. They either support them through training, internships or setting up franchises of the larger firms. Tuskys Supermarket has provided hundreds of internship opportunities to 2Jiajiri beneficiaries.
Francis Kabiru who is a hydroponics expert is excited about being part of the program. He explains that for every cow, you need about 8 kilos of dairy meal for the protein supplement. To attain this protein supplement, a farmer will spend sh320. But with hydroponics, a farmer will spend sh90 for the 8 kilos. It will take six to seven days to grow.
With a total of sh30, 000, a farmer is ready to hit the agribusiness venture, from a small space. In addition, you can also plant various other plants like vegetables and capsicum among others. It is through this partnership that Nairobi and other urban towns could still have agribusiness, for small scale and domestic use, something Kabira is looking forward to.