Young entrepreneurs and technology innovators have been challenged to utilize digital platforms to grow their businesses and to spur the country’s digital economic transformation.
Addressing a Huduma White Box Entrepreneurship Boot camp in Nyeri on Friday, ICT Authority Chief Executive Officer, Stanley Kamanguya described entrepreneurship as the best engine that would spur Kenya’s economic development and challenged young entrepreneurs to be in the frontline in providing innovations that will solve some of the challenges that the country is facing key among them unemployment.
“In Kenya, the Small and Medium Enterprises employ close to 14.9 million people and are a key driver of the digital economy. We must embrace entrepreneurship as the universal enabler of employment creation,” Kamanguya said in a speech read on his behalf by ICTA’s Director for Partnerships Innovation and Capacity Development, Zilpher Owiti.
“The primary objective of the Huduma White box is to support innovators transform their ideas into viable products that can solve practical problems. Through the project the government hopes to create employment opportunities by scaling the growth of start-ups and entrepreneurship across the country,” he added.
The one-day training forum hosted by Dedan Kimathi University of Technology brought together close to 100 entrepreneurs and innovators for the second phase of capacity building training on entrepreneurship.
According to Kamanguya, beneficiaries of the second phase will receive free training from The Kijiji (which specializes in pre-accelerator programmes for early stage start-ups) which enables them launch their business.
The ICTA CEO noted that during the first phase of online training under Huduma White Box, over 500 entrepreneurs and innovators were trained. He said Nyeri was the first to hold the physical training which will be rolled out in various counties starting next week when ICTA and The Kijiji will pitch tent at the Kabarak University.
On her part, Ms Owiti urged the youth to take up the various programmes offered by the government online. She enumerated the success realized through the Ajira Digital Programme and the Annual Presidential Internship Programme as evidence of some of the initiatives that are meant to empower the youth to actively contribute to the country’s economy.
“We are offering a lot of opportunities but you must log in on the government websites in order to know what is happening around your county. We also encourage you to learn about the government in detail. A lot of initiatives are available and they are mostly geared towards empowering the youth,” she said.
Data from ICTA shows that the authority has so far registered 1,800 since the programme was launched in 2018. ICTA’s Deputy Director for Partnerships Innovation and Capacity Development, Kelvin Gatimu, says out of the over 1,000 innovations,360 are currently active at various stages of incubation while others have already been deployed in the market.
“Some of the active innovations have created employment. The Huduma White Box offers incubation for free, all you have to do is stay focused once your innovation is registered and look at it as an actual business,” said Gatimu.
By Wangari Mwangi and Kiama Wamutitu