Working hard to create over 4 million jobs for the youth
Simon Chelugui as Cabinet Secretary for Co-operatives and SMEs. Benson Muthendi, the acting chief executive officer of Youth Enterprise Development Fund says the attitude of many youths has been shifting positively, with a big number willing to be self-employed entrepreneurs.
“This attitude change by the youth, as well as effective preparation in business, is critical for the survival of their enterprises. Enabling the youth to create decent jobs and livelihoods for themselves through entrepreneurship is key to reducing joblessness,” Muthendi said.
However, more awareness is needed. Established in 2006 as a Vision 2030 Flagship Project under the Social Pillar, the Youth Exchange Programme for Development (YEPD) is a State corporation in the Ministry of ICT and Youth Affairs.
Funding youth enterprises Its role is to provide funding and business development services to youth-owned or youth-focused enterprises. Since its inception in 2007, it has disbursed over Sh14.2 billion to about two million young entrepreneurs.
Further, according to Muthendi, the kitty has supported another 800,000 youth enterprises with various business development services such as training, mentorship and market linkages. But the agency continues to grapple with the attitude of young people who fail to take advantage of the kitty to initiate income-generating ventures, merely waiting for formal employment.
As part of efforts to tackle youth employment, Muthedi revealed that under the British Council’s Innovation for African Universities (IAU) Programme, YEDF has teamed up with KCA University and the University of Nottingham (UK) to investigate the disconnect between entrepreneurship learning and practice.
Their findings, he said, have led to the crafting of innovative solutions to help young people keen on successfully venturing into entrepreneurship.
Under the ambit of a project dubbed Co-production for Youth Entrepreneurship in Kenya (CoPYEK), the partners improved their entrepreneurship curricular resources, built the capacity of key entrepreneurship stakeholders and leveraged partnerships and engagement pathways for co-producing practical learning opportunities for and with young entrepreneurs.
Other remedies include enhanced collaboration between both the National and County governments and the private sector, reduction of the costs of establishing enterprises — such as multiple licensing, —lessening of operational costs and manufacturing through power tariffs, and periodic tax breaks for youth-owned enterprises.