Kakamega

By Chris Misango

At least 1000 youths from five counties converged at Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology (Mmust) to exchange ideas on how they can be empowered to commercialize there innovations.

They drawn from Kakamega, Bungoma, Vihiga, Busia and Trans Nzoia counties.

The National Youth Roundtable forum focused on digital economy, climate change, leadership and governance, networking and partnerships, market linkages, mentorship of young entrepreneurs, policy formulation and advocacy.

The President and CEO of Women in Business Mary Muthoni (centre) at Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology (Mmust) addressing the media – Photo/Chris Misango/County Splash

The meeting was organised by Women in Business forum, Centum, National Youth Council, Centre for African Affairs and Conflict Research and Hanan Premium Products.

“We are using these forums to check on the skill development through socio-economic empowerment of women and youths who form the bulk of our economy. We want to convert their innovative ideas into business ventures in a bid to ensure the country is moving forward,” said Mary Muthoni, the President and Chief Executive Officer of Women in Business.

According to Muthoni who was addressing the media at the institution said that many young people do not know the business opportunities that exist both in the national and county governments, saying they want to help them gain knowledge and skills on the documentation required to access government procurement opportunities.

“We are in discussion with the Council of Governors (CoG) to put in place right policies that will ensure youths can do business with the devolved units. We want to encourage cross county business that is devoid of double taxation for women and youths in a bid to empower them economically,” said Ms. Muthoni.

“We are using these forums to check on the skill development through socio-economic empowerment of women and youths who form the bulk of our economy. We want to convert their innovative ideas into business ventures in a bid to ensure the country is moving forward,” said Mary Muthoni, the President and Chief Executive Officer of Women in Business.

She added : “Better policies form good ground for doing business and that is why we are helping the youths understand the legislation processes both at the national and county level to push for better policies that addresses these issues directly,”.

Ms. Muthoni said that at least 17million youths are in business especially the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), saying they want them empowered so that they can grow into the Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSME).

She said the stage enables them to access loans without collaterals, be protected against delayed payments on goods and services rendered to government agencies and access overdraft facilities along with interest rate exemption among others.

“If this is done, then women and youths across the country will start managing multi-national companies leading to creation of jobs for their fellow youths, reduce the skyrocketing unemployment and spur economic growth.

Dick Ogara, the National Youth Roundtable Executive Director said that the future of the country is in the hands of the youths and the only way to solve unemployment crisis is by youths be engaged to do business.

Mr. Ogara said this would go a long way in preventing them in joining extremism and terror groups whose main role is to cause havoc and conflicts in a country leading to economic sabotage.

“For a long time we have been planning for the youths and bring the end product to them but now we are changing the conversation by ensuring that they come out with their own progressive ideas, get linked to donors and markets thus improving there economic status,” said Ogara.

John Nene, a director at Centre for African Affairs and Conflict Research said that they are collecting information from the youths on what they want included in the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) as a policy that will help them grow their businesses.

“We want to expose the young entrepreneur’s potentials to the private sectors, donors, East African governments, and individual supporters that can give the women and youth financial support to grow their business ventures. The forum also encourages them to actively involve themselves in leadership and governance in areas they come from,” said Mr. Nene.

Nene said there is potential in the digital economy, climate change, natural resources and agribusiness that remains untapped, saying they want to give them the knowledge and skills on how to make money from it.

Ends

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