The Kenya Catalytic Jobs Fund, a UKAID funded program to catalyse innovation and create jobs in Kenya, has for the second time placed a call for proposals.
Announced during the official launch of the Cohort2 in Nairobi, the program targets to create jobs in the country while supporting innovations aimed at increasing international competitiveness in the agricultural and manufacturing industries among others.
Speaking at the launch, Silvya Kananu, Kenya Catalytic Funds Team noted that the call for proposals is to heighten the support towards job creation for the youth, who, statistics prove to be more than half the entire Kenyan population by equipping them with entrepreneurial skills for poverty alleviation.
“Entrepreneurship plays a major role in poverty alleviation,” she said. Adding; “This program will go along way in helping the youth come up with home-grown solutions for entrepreneurial challenges and to spur economic growth.”
The £500, 000 fund from UK is in its second phase running, with the first phase having graduated the Cohort1 into a total of 32,000 employment for the youth in the country. In this second phase, the funded program hopes to scale the Cohort1 innovative ideas and create new jobs to more youths and women in Nairobi and beyond.
Giving his testimonial during the Cohort2 launch was Daniel Paffenholz, a Cohort1 grantee and CEO at TakaTaka solutions said; “This program enabled my team and I to train and equip youths with innovative and scalable ideas, offering 250 jobs in just 6 months.” He added; “I therefore call upon all the youths with a potential entrepreneurial ideas to apply for this grant. This could be the bridge you need from unemployment.”
TakaTaka Solutions is an integrated waste management and recycling plant based in Nairobi. It addresses Kenya’s waste management challenge by operating as a whole value-chain model by collecting waste, sorting the waste at a station then selling recyclable materials while processing organic wastes. The company visions to set up Kenya’s first recycling plant for non recyclable polypropylene (PP) plastics.
Other grantees of the UK fund are Savanna Circuit, a Pokot based Engineering and IT solutions provider that developed a cooling solution for the dairy value chain to tackle quality control, product traceability and spillage, spoilage of dairy products and profit limits. BuildHer that equips disadvantaged young women with accredited construction skills and promoting gender equality, Ten Senses Africa, a social enterprise working with nearly 30,000 small-holder farmers to produce and export organic and fairtrade macadamia and cashew nuts from Kenya, together with Lynk Jobs Limited, an enterprise providing a technology platform that connects gig workers to clients.
The fund provides a 4-year catalytic period within which a mix of technical assistance and grant support is offered. It then tests and selects competitive innovations that have potential to unlock market constraints and create jobs, including for the most vulnerable members of the society. The innovative ideas must also pass the scalability test as non-scalable ideas have proven a waste of time and financial resources.
Delivering the Keynote speech by the PS Ministry of ICT and Youth and Innovation by Jerome Ochieng, the representative, Timothy Were said that the government of Kenya through the ministry would work in partnership with the UK fund to give policy input in ICT.
“ICT as an enabler for job creation thus economic development should be incorporated into the program by the Ministry of ICT as a partnership to ensure continuation of the benevolent program that will go along way to ensure a curb to youth unemployment,” Were said.
He further noted that the government will also play a crucial role through the same ministry to ensure that the funded ideas are scalable and not ‘dying’ in what he called a departure from funding ‘dying startups’.
The Sinapis hosted event encouraged the youth and women to leverage technology as a necessity for innovation and to factor problem solving and not just to win the competition for the fund, as such motif has led to the death of many startups, which won funds but could not solve consumer problems.
Applications are being submitted online at kenyacatalyticjobsfund.org , deadline is Sunday, March 15th, 2020 at 11:59 PM EAT.
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