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50,000 MSEs Owners’ To be Equipped with Digital Skills

Over 50,000 owners of Micro Small Enterprises (MSEs) will be equipped with relevant digital skills to absorb at least 2,000 youths by the end of this year.

The initiative dubbed ‘Future Ni Digital’ targeting to be expanded to multiple counties across the country as part of the digital program that was launched earlier this year by the government in partnership with the private sector players.

Stakeholders in the initiative steered by the Ministry of Industrialization, Trade and Enterprise Development (MoITED), include the Micro and Small Enterprise Authority (MSEA), Stanbic Kenya Foundation, Microsoft Philanthropies and the African Centre for Women, Information and Communications Technology (ACWICT).

Speaking today at the Kariobangi Centre of Excellence during the start of the training exercise the chief Administrative Secretary at the Ministry of Industrialization, Trade and Enterprise Development, Mr. Lawrence Karanja applauded the partners for supporting the government in its efforts to promote digital technologies and ICT as a way of creating employment opportunities and improving public service delivery.

The CEO of MSEA, Mr Henry Rithaa  told the event that, “Our mission is to create an environment that makes our MSE sector globally competitive, and we are honoured to partner with such noble stakeholders who are appreciative and aligned to meeting this National goal.”

Rithaa added that continuous skill improvement is key for survival in today’s dynamic market environment, that is why they have partnered together to address the knowledge and skill gaps in digital literacy.

“This the partnership is timely and oriented to the Authority’s strategic direction of focusing key service delivery functions on digitization and innovation to better serve the MSE sector.’’ Noted Rithaa

The initiative, Rithaa said will offer online digital entrepreneurial skills to assist these MSEs to expand and grow their businesses in the ever-changing digital market.

As part of this, he added that 192 trainers have already undergone the requisite training in a bid to kick off the mass training of the entrepreneurs with Stanbic Kenya Foundation and Microsoft Kenya deploying an online learning platform to enable learners to access content and further develop their skills.

The trainers, Rithaa said are drawn from the Micro and Small Enterprise Authority (MSEA), the Kenya Industrial Business Training, Uasin Gishu and Nakuru counties as well as County Industrial Development Officers from around the country. In total, over 1,000 trainers from different government agencies will be trained to become instructors who will then engage with the various MSE’s and upskill them on how to leverage online and digital platforms to grow their businesses.

The Stanbic Kenya Foundation donated ten laptop computers to the MSEA Training Centre at Kariobangi and are set to donate a total of 400 computers to the other training centres across the country.

Speaking on behalf of the bank, Stanbic Bank Kenya CE, Charles Mudiwa noted that many enterprises in the country are still struggling to recover from the effects of the global pandemic. “We have seen that having digital skills is key to survival. Building the capacity of Kenyan citizens by providing access to resources and knowledge are in line with our objectives as part of our non-financial support. “Said Mudiwa

Microsoft Country Manager for Kenya, Kendi Ntwiga said the organization’s involvement in the initiative stems from its mission to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.

“Microsoft has operated in Africa for close to 30 years. In that time, we’ve built strong partnerships across the continent, helped bridge gaps in infrastructure, connectivity, capability, and we are working to assist the continent to digitally transform while creating sustained societal impact,” Kendi said.

Speaking on behalf of the implementing partners, ACWICT Executive Director, Constantine Obuya said, the goal of this program is to accelerate skilling and employment prospects for 50,000 underserved, out of school youth in Kenya to ensure an inclusive economic recovery post COVID-19 pandemic.

“The project responds to the challenge of high youth unemployment in Kenya, which has further been compounded by the outbreak of the pandemic and we hope to achieve a skilled, resilient, and thriving youth effectively optimizing digital opportunities for improved livelihoods” added Obuya.

MSEA is a state corporation under the Ministry of Industrialization, Trade, and Enterprise Development mandated to promote, develop and regulate MSEs in Kenya and implement key Government programs aimed at mainstreaming the contribution of MSEs towards the activation of Vision 2030 and the Big 4 Agenda.

By Catherine Muindi

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