Impact Stories & Blogs
Our team share their insights and perspectives on the impact our program is having on youth in East and Central Africa.
YALI Regional Leadership Center East Africa, Kenya Community Development Foundation, Deloitte East Africa and Citi Foundation collaborate in supporting young entrepreneurs in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania
Running a successful business is quite challenging, but for young entrepreneurs running a business can have even more complications that make it difficult to get basic tasks done. However, encouraging entrepreneurial behavior amongst the youth is the only sure way of fighting the runaway unemployment in Africa.
To support young people change from job seekers to job creators, Citi Bank Foundation supported over 50 young entrepreneurs from Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania through the Business Skills Immersion (BSI) Program. The entrepreneurs, who are alumni of the Young African Leaders Initiative’s Regional Leadership Center for East Africa, went through a thorough training on business planning, financial management, networking and providing linkages for funding and scaling their business.
Speaking to the young entrepreneurs during the BSI graduation ceremony, Bernadette Wahogo, Deloitte Partner in charge of the YALI Regional Leadership Center East Africa called upon the graduating entrepreneurs to prioritize networking and partnerships to grow their businesses. “While entrepreneurship skills and continuous innovation are fundamental drivers for SMES growth, networking adds to the factors that ensure long term sustainability and profitability. You must build networks around your service or products that make it easier for you to do business’’ she said.
To address the unique challenges female entrepreneurs face, the program included a mentorship component for female business owners, carried out by the Kenya Community Development Foundation, KCDF.
“There are still too few female business owners and entrepreneurs making it a challenge to find mentors or female investors,” said Janet Mawiyoo, KCDF Executive Director. “Although more women are embracing starting up business, they often face bottle-necks not shared by their male counterparts. Research indicates mentorship and networking plays a significant role in running a successful business particularly for women who are starting out,” added Ms. Mawiyoo. She said that the BSI partnership is a testament of how the private sector and development organisations can come together to address emerging issues facing the youth.
Through business skills capacity building and mentorship, the youth can generate their own income and get an opportunity to diversify their livelihood opportunities.
Citi Foundation committed USD 110,000 towards the program over a 12-month period. The program ensured trainees developed the necessary business skills, get exposed to opportunities within the spaces they are in business, are aware of the available resources and can make the appropriate business decisions.
“The purpose of the BSI program is to build on the leadership training provided at the YALI Regional Leadership Center East Africa, to the young alumni entrepreneurs. It delves deeper into the practical operational issues business owners face,” said Sarah Kaminchia, Senior Vice President and TTS Client Operations Head, Citi. She added that Citi Foundation focuses on partnerships that help the youth to link education goals with leadership skills training, professional networks, and onramps to employment to increase the number of low-income youth who are able to get a job or start an income-generating business.
By George Mbithi - YALI RLC EA Communications Manager