Companies in Kenya have continued to encourage the culture of entrepreneurship in a society with the largest number of unemployed youth in the region. Whether through foundations or direct involvement in identifying and financing ideas, the role of companies in enhancing entrepreneurship is expanding to include:
- Inspiring budding entrepreneurs to dream big
The knowledge that no big company got to where it is without taking the little steps, motivates budding entrepreneurs to work hard for better prospects. Cytonn Investments was once an idea that grew from only 4 individuals, who were the founding partners, to currently over 300 staff and counting. Facebook started from a hostel in Harvard, yet today serves as one of the biggest brands the world has ever seen.
- Mentoring and guiding entrepreneurs to realize their potential
Through entrepreneurship support programs like Cytonn eHub, a product of Cytonn Foundation, budding entrepreneurs are taken through a 12-week training program on Entrepreneurship, Financial Literacy, and Mentorship. Growth Business Africa focusses on accelerating the growth of small businesses to enable them to realize greater efficiency and higher returns.
- Funding and supporting entrepreneurial ventures
Companies fund brilliant ideas, and where they are unable to, they expose entrepreneurs to investors who could come on board to fund or buy into their business. The KCB Lion’s Den is an example of a program that provides an opportunity for entrepreneurs to pitch their ideas. The Cytonn Investors’ Forum also provides an opportunity for entrepreneurs to pitch their ideas before angel investors and win cash prizes, or secure funding for their businesses.
- Providing an enabling environment for entrepreneurs to grow their business
The Nailab is an example of a company whose primary mandate is to provide incubation to start-ups in the technology sector. Incubation hubs cushion start-ups from administrative costs related to renting and servicing an office, and they can focus on developing their ideas into a viable business with guidance from experts around them.
- Developing entrepreneurs from within
Through employment, internships and graduate trainee programs, companies impart skills and knowledge relevant to the work environment. By supporting creativity and innovation from within, companies communicate the right attitude towards risk and reward. These insights leave a long lasting impression on employees and ultimately influence their entrepreneurial journey when they opt out.
As the saying goes, every master was once a student; it is therefore important that more and more companies get on board, through supporting young entrepreneurs in Kenya, not just to reduce unemployment levels, but also to mentor young Kenyans into injecting fresh products and services into the market.