Cytonn Investment Chief Executive Edwin Dande says with the right governance, Kenya is poised to be Africa’s entrepreneurship hub.
Dande says the selection of Nairobi as host city for the 2015 GES underscores how Kenya has become a centre for innovation and entrepreneurship.
“Entrepreneurship in Kenya has evolved through the years driven by the political, social and economic changes that the country has undergone. In the past, entrepreneurship in Kenya lacked diversity, being reserved to family businesses, cultural lines, the older generation, and predominantly men; but over the years Kenya has transformed into a cosmopolitan economy that spurs innovation and partnerships along diverse cultural differences and has seen youth and women step up,” he adds.
According to Dande, the key factors that encourage entrepreneurial development in the country include:
o Challenges such as unemployment and poverty: The unemployment rate in Kenya as at 2014 was 40 percent of the total population, with a large percentage comprising youths and women. This has led to innovations and entrepreneurial activities with the aim of improving their standards of living, especially in the informal sector. The inability of a large proportion of school leavers to secure jobs has left many to come up with their own businesses as a means of livelihood.
o Economic growth: The Kenyan economy is expected to continue growing strongly given the high infrastructural developments, which provide ample opportunities for entrepreneurial developments. Kenya being a developing nation, the opportunities for entrepreneurship brought about by economic growth are large and far-reaching ranging from technology to agriculture, manufacturing to service, education to finance and real estate to infrastructure.
o Technological advancements: Global technological advancements and local innovations such as M-PESA have greatly enhanced convenience and the ease of doing business.
o Government initiatives: The government has come up with several initiatives aimed at promoting entrepreneurship in the country, with the most recent being the Uwezo Fund, which targets the youth, women and the physically disabled.
o Education levels: We have seen a lot of growth in the tertiary education sector with a lot of new campuses being opened up. This will definitely lead to a lot of growth in the knowledge base and is bound to improve the rate of discovery in the country.