, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 9 – The Kenyatta University (KU) officially has launched a business incubation centre to nurture budding entrepreneurs in the country.
The Chandaria Business Innovation and Incubation Center, was primarily funded by Kenyatta University and the Chandaria Foundation to promote at least 50 student’s innovations and entrepreneurship ideas through a six to 12 month incubation period, until fully developed and ready to enter the marketplace.
Speaking during the launch, Minister for Trade Chirau Ali Mwakwere said the center will link budding entrepreneurs to the global market and ultimately help drive the economy.
“The purpose of this center is to develop a comprehensive, best practice, nurturing environment to support the development of new entrepreneurial and innovative business among university students and Kenyans. The center will also lead to direct and indirect job creation and community development,” he said.
Echoing the Minister’s words, Kenyatta University Vice Chancellor Prof Olive Mugenda said the center will spur national development by giving participating innovators an unrivalled advantage through a strong support system.
“Business incubation is a support process that accelerates the successive development of start-up and fledgling companies by providing entrepreneurs with an array of supportive resources and services. It’s not just giving them a working space. A major component is the support both from our professional experts at KU and distinguished mentors,” she said.
Innovators at the center will benefit from insight given by some of Kenya’s leading industrialists that include, Chris Kirubi, Dr Manu Chandaria, Eva Muraya, S.K. Macharia among others.
The Sh100 million project will also address the issue of high unemployment among Kenyan youth by encouraging participants to be job creators within their communities.
With youth accounting for 64 percent of the Kenya’s unemployed, Chandaria Foundation Chairman Manu Chandaria said it is crucial to cultivate an environment of business to create wealth for the country.
“Today in Kenya we have a huge number of intelligent people. Our man power is the best we can talk about in the eastern part of Africa. Without creation of wealth there is no way the country will go anywhere. Mere attempt is not enough, commitment and going and getting it done is the only way. We need a nation which can produce results,” he said.
The Chandaria Foundation that has already donated Sh25 million to the construction of the center is one of five other partners with the Kenyatta University including the Youth Enterprise Development Fund (YEDF), the National Council for Science & Technology (NCST), Telkom-Orange and the University of Western Ontario.
Also speaking at the event Haco Tiger Industries Chairman, Chris Kirubi stressed the importance of preparing young people to be productive in the economy.
“Universities in the future should not be judged by how many young people they have churned out with degrees to go and populate the market without knowing what to do. Universities must go to the next level of preparing our young people to become useful to the economy and become job creators,” he said.
Prof Mugenda said she hopes the center will be a model business incubator encouraging other institutions to engage in public-private partnerships to drive social-economic development in Kenya.
“Such collaborations harness financial and material resources as well as skills that are abundant in university settings. As entrepreneurs, government agents and businesses, together our efforts can make a significant contribution to the social-economic development of our country.”