NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 5 – Youths with viable business ideas but lack the capacity to launch their businesses have been asked to forward their proposals to Optiven Foundation.
George Wachiuri, CEO of Optiven Limited – the Foundation’s mother company – says upon submission, the Foundation will pick, mentor and source funds for the top viable business ideas.
An initial Sh2.5 million has hence been set aside by the Real estate Company to fund the project with more funds expected to be injected thereafter.
The move is part of the company’s initiative which seeks to create over one million entrepreneurs by 2035.
“World Bank estimates unemployment rates in Kenya to stand at 40 percent. This is a huge problem that as a society we need to do something. The government cannot succeed in it alone, hence the private sector needs to play its part,” he said while addressing the media.
Since word got out of the intent to mentor and train start-up, Wachiuri says over 2,000 proposals have already been submitted with up to 20,000 more proposals expected.
This, he says, shows the magnitude of both the problem and the potential on the ground.
“On the one hand, we have thousands of graduates who have academic qualifications but fail to find jobs. On the other hand, there are tones of youths with brilliant business ideas who lack opportunities to harness their ideas. This is where we come in.”
– How it will work –
The Foundation has already selected judges to evaluate and shortlist viable ideas. Once they are selected, the youths – between 20 and 30 years old – will be offered office space, free WiFi and will be trained on how to run a business effectively. Hence, book keeping, record management and the likes will be part of the training.
“The training will be one year long and will take place in one of our Nairobi offices. Those who show most potential upon completion will have financial assistance from financial institutions contracted by the Optiven Foundation.”
The initiative come at a time when Kenya is grappling with unemployment and underemployment problems with the youth being the most affected.