NAIROBI, Kenya Feb 25 – The UK government has issued a call for proposals for the second round of the Business Innovation Challenge, which will see five promising businesses receive grant funding and technical assistance worth up to Sh13 million each.
The funding, which will be made available through the Kenya Catalytic Jobs Fund, will focus on agriculture and manufacturing, the informal sector and people in marginalized groups and areas.
Head of the Department for International Development in Kenya Julius Court said the four-year program will stimulate large-scale job creation.
“We are delighted to be part of the efforts to tackle such constraints and promote the growth of private sector in way that creates opportunities for youth, We are listening when Kenyans tell the world they want mutually beneficial partnerships that move beyond aid and attract quality investment and create millions of jobs,” Court said.
Head of Taka Taka solutions Daniel Paffenholz, who benefited from the first round of the challenge said through the program, a total of 250 new jobs have been created in the last six months.
“We set up this project to support and get the recycling plan going, we intended to create dignified jobs that make sense to all stakeholders,” Paffenholz said.
The Kenya Catalytic Jobs Fund is a Sh650 million 4-year programme, which was announced by former UK Prime Minister Theresa May during her Kenya visit last year.
Other beneficiaries of the first round of the challenge included Savana Circuit based in West Pokot developed a cooling solution for dairy value and BuildHer deals with young women accredited construction skills.
Lynk Jobs Limited which created a platform that provides workers with digital career and marketing opportunities and Ten Senses Africa which produces, and exports organic trade food macadamia and cashew nuts were the other beneficiaries.
All the companies received Sh13,000,000 each for technical assistance.
Speaking during the launch of the challenge, Director of Information and communications technology Timothy Were said employment of the youth will be a solution to the country.
“If they are kept busy, they will be productive,” he said.
He further urged both private and public stakeholders to create innovative jobs noting that 80 per cent of the unemployed are 35 years and below.