Trade and Industrialisation Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya has unveiled a Sh1.5 billion business competition.
During the launch on Wednesday, the CS warned selectors that the process of determining the 750 winners in the MbeleNaBiz National Youth Business Competition should be transparent and professional.
“We don’t expect any funny games,” said Mr Munya of the initiative that the Government hopes will help alleviate the youth unemployment crisis.
The project will be implemented by audit firm KPMG.
Five hundred of the successful applicants will each receive Sh900,000 while 250 will get Sh3.6 million each.
The World Bank, the main financiers of the initiative, insisted the process would go through a “rigorous” impact evaluation with the selected businesses evaluated on a regular basis.
World Bank Country Director for Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda and Somalia Felipe Jaramillo said in Nigeria, where they had undertaken a similar project, evaluation of the initiative showed that winning businesses had been able to employ an average nine workers in three years compared to less than half of this for those who did not receive the financing.
The aim of the project is to expand new and existing youth-led enterprises by providing them with funding and business plan training.
The project, according to Mr Jaramillo, does not target youth unemployment directly but through entrepreneurship.
Official figures show more than 85 per cent of those who are unemployed in the country are aged below 35 years, the age category that the competition targets.
The largest unemployment rate - strictly defined as those not working but available and looking for work - is in the age category of between 20 and 24 years, at 19.2 per cent.