The culture of entrepreneurship needs to be enhanced amongst the youths in Kirinyaga County.
Doreen Nyambura, the Kirinyaga County Credit Officer, Youth Enterprise Development Fund (YEDF), attributes the rise in poverty levels among young people to reluctance in embracing government efforts in uplifting their standards of living.
Nyambura, speaking in Kerugoya, said concerted efforts should be made to ensure those young entrepreneurs are adequately trained in business management.
“The youth should also be trained on financial management, planning, and information technology platforms, as a way of enhancing the YEDF core mandate and services,” she said.
The Official said majority of the youths in Kirinyaga County had taken to drinking and drug abuse, a situation, which she said, had impacted negatively on the area’s development agenda.
Nyambura wondered how the Country could move forward economically if the youth, who constitute the bulk of the nation’s workforce, remain unproductive and continue to indulgence in anti-social ills.
She said it is important that different stakeholders in the County be brought on board in order to develop programmes that enhance youth attitudes and behavior towards entrepreneurship.
“High financial literacy amongst the youths, especially in terms of record-keeping and banking services which is a key requirement to credit access need to be addressed,” Nyambura said.
She said cumulative loan disbursement in Kirinyaga County since 2013 to date stands at Sh 336.5 million to 20,200 beneficiaries.
Direct disbursement is Sh 98.5 million to 14, 273 beneficiaries and with Sh 238 million to 5,927 beneficiaries, loan disbursed through financial institutions.
Nyambura said Kirinyaga Central Sub-County is in the lead with 5,051 beneficiaries, followed by Gichugu, 3,321, Ndia 2,541 and Mwea with 2,360.
Some of the successful groups in the County includes Kiangombe Multipurpose Group in Gichugu, which runs a petrol station in Kianyaga town.
Others include Kavote Youth Group also from Gichugu which is involved in tree planting, Baricho Riders from Ndia, Kaguyu Group from Kirinyaga Central involved in bull fattening and Nyakanda Youth Group from Mwea who carry out Arrowroot and Banana farming.
The loan products, which are open to groups and individual youths include Constituency Youth Enterprise Scheme targeting youths organized in groups and is for business startups.
Easy Youth Enterprise Scheme is for youths organized into groups and can access the loans as individuals. The other referred as Vuka loan targets individuals already in business requiring capital injection for expansion of their business.
For the youths interested in farming, the fund provides Agri Biz Loan product, Talanta Loan targeting youths in the creative, entertainment industry, and LPO Loans for youths who have won tenders from National and County governments.
Youths can access up to Sh 5 million for the last category of the loan, the official said
The Youth Enterprise Fund was established in June 2006 as one of the government strategies of addressing youth unemployment.
Through the Fund, the government seeks to gainfully engage the youths to embrace entrepreneurship as a way of job creation.
By Irungu Mwangi