The Kenya Climate Innovation Centre (KCIC) is targeting more than 2,400 women and youth-led agribusiness enterprises countrywide with a share of Sh5.1 billion through the "Vijana na Agribiz competition".
Aiming to provide decent jobs for youth and women in agricultural value chains in Kenya, the third annual contest is funded by the European Union (EU) and the Danish International Development Agency (Danida).
It is being implemented jointly with eight selected county governments of Machakos, Kisii, Uasin Gishu, Isiolo, Bungoma, Meru, Kiambu, and Kilifi. "Business Incubation Hubs (BIHs) have been set up in eight counties to provide training, business advisory and financing to enable women and youth to gain the requisite skills needed to scale their agribusinesses," said KCIC in a statement.
The initiative was rolled out on March 6, 2020, by the European Union, Danida, the African Development Bank (AfDB) and KCIC, a World Bank's "infoDev" initiative to support the development and scale-up of locally relevant climate technologies. "It is projected to create 17,000 job opportunities. It addresses key challenges that hinder youth and women from tapping into the immense potential in the agricultural sector," said KCIC.
Over a million smallholder farmers are set to be reached in five years.
Agribiz has since incubated over 1,500 small businesses, where the innovations that have since been celebrated include the Agri Soko application for farmers in Narok County, Jiko Kul, an innovative solar cooker for mass cooking, Eco-Floor, which comes from recycling tyres to make rubber flooring material, as well as Eco Bana, biodegradable banana fibre sanitary pads.
With the deadline set for August 31, KCIC said successful applicants will benefit from agribusiness entrepreneurship opportunities available within their localities together with the services offered within the BIHs.
"We welcome youth and women in agribusiness in different parts of Kenya to apply for incubation into AgriBiz. Applying in a county that is too far from your enterprise will lead to automatic disqualification," noted the World Bank agency
KCIC said applicants from Machakos, Makeuni, Kajiado, and Kitui counties can apply to the Machakos BIH. The Kisii BIH will incorporate Kisii, Nyamira, Kericho, Kisumu, Migori, Homabay, Bomet and Narok counties.
Those from Uasin Gishu, Nandi, Elgeyo Marakwet, Baringo, Turkana, and West Pokot counties can apply to the Uasin Gishu BIH while those from Isiolo, Garissa, Wajir, Mandera, Marsabit, Samburu can apply to the Isiolo BIH.