Fursa support, through Whitebox

Overview

Working with the National Youth Council to find innovative approaches to economic recovery after COVID-19 and to develop a youth-led response to these challenges.

Challenge

Youth entrepreneurs have many ideas on the economic recovery post-COVID, but no platform or support to turn these ideas into viable businesses.

Solution

The UK-Kenya Tech Hub led a partnership with the Ministry of ICT, National Youth Council and Whitebox platform to provide support to young innovators with training, coaching and networking, as well as deliver ecosystem- strengthening research and events.

Impact

This project provided support to over 1,318 young innovators in Kenya, from all 47 counties. The Kenyan President, Uhuru Kenyatta, congratulated the winners of The Fursathon: Fursa Vs Economic Recovery Challenge, citing it as evidence of the great potential of the youth in the country. The media coverage was widespread, with links in all major media outlets.

Background

Young people are the backbone of Kenya, with 75% of Kenyans being under the age of 35. Ensuring that these young people have opportunities to fulfil their potential whether that be through employment, entrepreneurship or a mixture of the two through gig work is vital. In order for young people to drive economic growth and development they need support, training, mentorship and linkages with the private sector.

Programme

The Fursa Challenge builds on the previously successful project delivered with the Ministry of ICT, Innovation and Youth Affairs, in which the UK-Kenya Tech Hub supported 150 entrepreneurs through the Ministry’s Whitebox. The Challenge was born out of the need to find innovative approaches to economic recovery after COVID-19, with the goal to develop a youth-led response to the challenges facing the Kenyan economy. The virtual project included self-paced training and live events, and provided business support to over 1300 young people through e-learning, with the objective being to support them to transform their ideas into tangible businesses.

The project included:

  • a 6-week, on-demand online training programme
  • three skills building and networking events with national and international partners
  • several events leading up to the International Youth Day on 12th August

The three winners were chosen through an expert jury and public voting. President Uhuru Kenyatta provided a special mention.

Tech Hub leadership

The UK-Kenya Tech Hub took an innovative approach using a ‘train the trainer’ model – this empowers youth ambassadors across Kenya to mobilize youth and deliver the training themselves. The youth ambassadors are still actively in contact beyond the initial project, illustrating the value of creating grass-roots interest.

The Challenge received high-level support from the Ministry of ICT with Cabinet Secretary Joseph Mucheru and Deputy High Commissioner to the UK Josephine Gauld launching the project. The President of Kenya, H.E. Uhuru Kenyatta congratulated the young innovators and applauded the UK-Kenya Tech Hub as a partner. The Challenge received significant media coverage from all leading traditional news outlets, radio, and television, as well as social media.

Looking to the future

Whilst training is an important component, it is clear that the entrepreneurs really valued the multi-stakeholder partnerships and linkages to industry and mentors. As the Hub continues to support the ecosystem, we will make sure to engage with government and other private sector players to deliver a multiplier effect.

The legal considerations module enlightened me on the importance of bringing legal experts on board when you are starting your business because this helps your business not be compromised and they are also able to help you with your contracts negotiation.

– Victor, Makueni County

I didn’t know how to pitch my ideas in a short video. However, through the Fursa Challenge I was able to learn how to, and now I have many videos of my business which I can use to invite investors.

– Miriam, Murang’a county

Over 3,000 people countrywide attended the Official Launch of the Fursa Support through Whitebox: Fursa Vs Economic recovery Challenge.

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