The second edition of the Kenya Catalytic Jobs Fund (KCJF) aired on KTN last week. The initiative saw 10 business people pitch to a panel of judges. At the end, at least five of the contestants took home the prize money - £100,000 (Sh14.5 million) each. The Kenya Catalytic Jobs Fund is a UK-funded project implemented through the Department of International Development (DFID).
The project aims to test and support innovations that have the potential to stimulate job creation. The programme takes the form of a challenge fund, with calls for proposals to select and support the best innovations, through a mix of grants and tailored technical assistance. It is a £5 million (Sh709 million), four-year programme that aims to test and support innovations that have the potential to stimulate job creation?. This means that it will be running again next year as well.
The programme focuses on agriculture, manufacturing, and informal sectors, and seeks to capitalise on the opportunity presented by the youthful Kenyan population to accelerate social and economic development. The overall programme outcome is to create new quality jobs for young and vulnerable people through improved enterprise performance in the selected sectors.
“While the youthful population presents clear developmental opportunities for Kenya in terms of catalysing accelerated social and economic growth, it equally poses a critical development challenge. The official unemployment rate in Kenya is 7.4 per cent, with an additional 20.4 per cent underemployed,” reads the UKAid statement on KCJF.
“Of these, nearly 18 per cent are unemployed youth, a rate that is significantly higher than the unemployment rate for youth in the East Africa region. With the youth population continuing to rise rapidly and only about 15 per cent of the circa 750,000 youth who enter the labour market annually managing to get jobs in the formal sector, the unemployment challenge can only get worse, unless Kenya can create enough jobs.”
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The programme is implemented through Sinapis Group, a fund manager. This year the winners were Isiolo-based African Agency for Arid Resources Limited (AGAR), Nairobi’s Zumi, Nairobi’s Miyonga Fresh Greens – Wheeling Fruit Project, Nairobi’s Hello Tractor and Turkana’s fish processor Value Villages Food and Leather.
The winners last year were Ten Senses Africa, a social enterprise firm, Lynk, a firm that connects informal workers to clients, and Savanna Circuit, a West Pokot-based IT service provider. The other two were BuildHer, which equips disadvantaged young women with construction skills, and TakaTaka Solutions, which is involved in waste management.