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Youth to bag over Sh2 Million in TechnoServe business plan competition

BUSINESS
By Mark Kapchanga | August 16th 2013

By Mark Kapchanga

Nairobi, Kenya: About 245 young men and women from rural areas will receive over Sh2 million in awards as part of the TechnoServe Strengthening Rural Youth Development through Enterprise (STRYDE) Business Plan Competition (BPC).

For most young people in rural Africa, employment opportunities are scarce. Only 28 percent of Africa’s labor force holds stable wage paying jobs, and most of those are concentrated in urban areas.

The STRYDE program is implemented by TechnoServe in partnership with The MasterCard Foundation and seeks to empower rural youth by helping 15,000 young men and women in Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda transition to economic independence.

STRYDE consists of a three-month training program designed to help participants develop personal effectiveness, employability and business skills followed by a nine-month aftercare phase. Trainers and community members alike have noted the participants increased self-confidence.

Chepkemoi Stacy, a STRYDE participant from Sotik District in Bomet County, is looking forward to winning an award, “I have enjoyed taking part in the TechnoServe STRYDE Program and the Business Plan Competition has provided me a great opportunity for self-awareness and business learning. I never thought I could present my idea to a panel of judges.” Stacy hopes to win one of the cash awards to further invest in her rabbit farming business.

The TechnoServe STRYDE BPC is the capstone of the aftercare phase of the program that takes place after the personal effectiveness and entrepreneurship-training program.

“With the right support, young people can identify and capitalize on opportunities that will improve their livelihoods and strengthen rural industries.” said Moses Kimani, TechnoServe STRYDE Program Manager.

STRYDE draws on TechnoServe’s experience in both developing agricultural industries and promoting entrepreneurship. Agriculture in East Africa is a significant and growing sector of the economy and has the potential to create sustainable employment and income opportunities both on and off-farm.

In its first 2 years, STRYDE has graduated 4,600 trainees, who have created more than 1200 new businesses and secured over 800 jobs. Through this program, young people learn about these opportunities and gain the market-ready skills to benefit from this demand.

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