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YEDF to roll out a new Youth empowerment program

Youth Enterprise Development Fund (YEDF) plans to launch a Mashinani Entrepreneurs Promotion Program to support young entrepreneurs and innovators across the country.

The program will be piloted in three counties including Taita-Taveta, Samburu and Narok before being rolled out to other counties.

Speaking in Mwatate on Wednesday during the county finals for most innovative youth project, Mr. Morris Murimi, a YEDF official, said the program would also aim at capacity-building young people to engage in meaningful businesses including dynamics of Access to Government Procurement Opportunities (AGPO).

Mr. Murimi, who was representing the Fund’s CEO Ronnie Osumba, said the YEDF program was aimed at identifying and funding innovations and other viable business ideas amongst youth. The program will also create market linkages to ensure growth of businesses.

“We are pro-growth and will support ideas with potential for development. Our end game is to have such businesses create opportunities for other young people,” he explained.

The entrepreneurship program targets over 7,000 youth in the three counties.

He added that several major donors had expressed willingness to support the program which was anchored in the government’s Big Four Agendas on job creation, promotion of industry and manufacturing sectors.

The event was attended by senior county officials led by Governor Granton Samboja, Deputy Governor Majala Mlagui, MPs Andrew Mwadime, (Mwatate); Jones Mlolwa, ( Voi) and Danson Mwashako of Wundanyi.

Four youth groups, each from the four constituencies, were declared winners and awarded Sh 500,000.

Governor Samboja said the money would not be paid to the group directly but would be paid to Taita-Taveta University where the group members would be trained extensively on how to grow their business ideas. The university experts would also assist the groups to adopt innovations and open up potential markets for the groups.

“This is what we mean when we talk about youth empowerment. We need those ideas to take off,” said the governor.

He added that competition for the youth group with the best ideas will be held annually to encourage growth and innovation among the youth. The governor further said his administration would make youth empowerment a central pillar in its plans.

By Wagema Mwangi

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