Young entrepreneurs and tech innovators have been challenged to use digital platforms to grow their businesses and drive the country’s digital economic transformation.
Addressing a Huduma White Box Entrepreneurship boot camp in Nyeri on Friday, ICT Authority Chief Executive Stanley Kamanguya described entrepreneurship as the best engine that would drive Kenya’s economic development and put the young entrepreneurs challenged to be on the front line to deliver innovations that will solve some of the challenges facing the country are among the major unemployment.
“In Kenya, small and medium enterprises employ nearly 14.9 million people and are a key driver of the digital economy. We must embrace entrepreneurship as a universal catalyst for job creation,” Kamanguya said in a speech read on his behalf by ICTA Director for Partnerships, Innovation and Capacity Development, Zilpher Owiti.
“The primary goal of the Huduma White Box is to help innovators turn their ideas into viable products that can solve practical problems. Through this project, the government hopes to create job opportunities by accelerating the growth of start-ups and entrepreneurship across the country,” he added.
The one-day training forum organized by Dedan Kimathi University of Technology brought together nearly 100 entrepreneurs and innovators for the second phase of entrepreneurship capacity building training.
According to Kamanguya, beneficiaries of the second phase will receive free training from The Kijiji (which specializes in pre-accelerator programs for early-stage start-ups) that allows them to launch their business.
The CEO of ICTA noted that during the first phase of online training under Huduma White Box, more than 500 entrepreneurs and innovators were trained. He said Nyeri was the first to organize the physical training which will be rolled out to various counties starting next week when ICTA and The Kijiji set up their tent at Kabarak University.
For her part, Ms. Owiti urged young people to follow the various programs offered by the e-government. She listed the success achieved through the Ajira Digital Program and the annual Presidential Internship Program as evidence of some of the initiatives aimed at empowering young people to actively contribute to the country’s economy.
“We have lots of opportunities, but you have to log on to government websites to find out what’s going on in your county. We also encourage you to learn about the government in detail. Many initiatives are available and they are mainly focused on youth empowerment,” she said.
ICTA data shows the authority has registered 1,800 so far since the program launched in 2018. ICTA Deputy Director for Partnerships, Innovation and Capacity Development, Kelvin Gatimu , states that out of more than 1,000 innovations, 360 are currently active in various stages of incubation. while others have already been rolled out to the market.
“Some of the active innovations have created jobs. The Huduma White Box offers free incubation, all you have to do is stay focused once your innovation is registered and see it as a real business,” said Gatimu.
By Wangari Mwangi and Kiama Wamutitu