NAIROBI, KENYA, FEB 20 — The Scale Kenya forum to be held in Nairobi this week will help address challenges faces by young entrepreneurs in the country, officials have said.
Through the East Africa Civil Society Initiative, the Aga Khan University (AKU) and the Aga Khan Foundation (AKF) will jointly launched the Scale programme in Kenya, aimed at supporting youth entrepreneurship in the country and the East Africa region.
The agencies will host the Scale Kenya forum at iHub on Thursday, February 22, seeking to drive innovation among the youth and stakeholders.
The programme aims at supporting youth entrepreneurship, which will help address the high rate of unemployment in the region.
Under the theme ‘Youth Entrepreneurship for Social Impact’, the whole day forum will bring together over 25 exhibitors and 250 delegates, 100 of who are young entrepreneurs from across Kenya.
Young entrepreneurs have the potential to be a powerful vehicle for Kenya’s sustainable economic growth, and the driving force behind a number of creative solutions to broader socio-economic development challenges, according to the Aga Khan Foundation East Africa.
Some of the biggest challenges young entrepreneurs across East Africa face according to the AKF include lack of access to finance, appropriate training and mentorship to help grow their businesses.
Policy and regulatory issues are also seen to create obstacles that make it more difficult for local businesses to survive and thrive.
“The Scale programme aims to understand these challenges, and determine how stakeholders can work individually and together more effectively to strengthen the enabling environment for entrepreneurs in East Africa,” SafiaAbji, Start-Up Advisor atAga Khan Foundation East Africa said.
The programme was officially launched in May 2017 in Uganda. It took place in Tanzania in September 2017. This will be the first Scale forum in Kenya.
Five inspiringyoung Kenyan entrepreneurs have been selected to speak at the event. They represent Nairobi, Lamu, Kisumu, Kisii and Uasin Gishu counties.
Key speakers lined up for the event include Tri.B Managing Director Gacheri Maingi,Maliha Mohamed Ali, the Director of Al-Maawy Boutique in Lamu and Brian Bosire who is the Founder of the award-winning HydroIQ.
A 2016 study by the East Africa Institute of the Aga Khan University identified unemployment as the single most pressing issue affecting youth, who form 80 per cent of the region’s population.
Kenya’s unemployment was at 39.1 per cent last year according to the United Nations; Human Development Index (HDI) 2017, the highest in East Africa.
The forum will feature interactive discussions addressing the opportunities and barriers to Kenya’s entrepreneurial market, including policy responses and the roles of public and private sector in supporting the enabling environment for Kenyan entrepreneurs.
To find out more about the forum follow @CSI_EA on Twitter and CSI East Africa on Facebook.