NAIROBI, Kenya, July 30 – Kenyatta University has officially established its multi-million Chandaria Business Innovation and Incubation Centre that will help students with promising innovative ideas have an opportunity to transform their dreams into business enterprises.,
Seventy percent of the centre will benefit students at the University while 30 percent will be set aside for Kenyans.
Speaking during the launch, the university’s Vice-Chancellor Olive Mugenda said the centre will be a major shift as it will be focusing on preparing graduates to take up roles in entrepreneurship rather than job seekers.
“The exposure available at the centre gives incubates a reality check which prevents them from making the most basic mistakes and also ensures there are chances of survival as entrepreneurs grow significantly. Universities today should be at the fore front of bringing up job creators and not job seekers,” Professor Mugenda said on Tuesday.
She said the centre will have an annual intake projected at 25 students where new ideas will be developed for periods of between six months to one year.
“There is empirical evidence that countries that have consistently reported above average innovations, have consistently reported high GDP growth rates. This has happened because universities, corporate organisations and other institutions in these countries, have taken innovation and incubation with the seriousness it deserves,” she said.
The Chandaria Foundation has invested about Sh25 million in developing and equipping the centre.
Businessman Chris Kirubi is also among major partners and supporters who have contributed significantly in the development of the Chandaria centre.
The centre will foster regular interaction between the students, a team of experts and mentors from Kenyatta University and leading industrialists in East Africa, who will chart out commercialization of the products.
Cabinet Secretary for Education, Science and Technology, Jacob Kaimenyi who officially opened the centre challenged the youth to seize the opportunity and learn on how to become entrepreneurs, who will develop strong companies; whose top-notch products and services will easily penetrate not only the local market, but also the regional and international markets as well.
“I will talk to the Land Ministry to also see how we can even get more land and set up industrial parks where students who mature in these kinds of centres can commercialize their innovative and entrepreneurial ideas, “Kaimenyi pledged.
On his part Manu Chandaria, expressed the need for the government to create an enabling environment for business, by young people increasingly becoming strong entrepreneurs through appropriate policies.
Other universities which have established such incubation centres include the University of Nairobi and Strathmore University.