Fredrick Juma is passionate about empowering the youth and ensuring the unemployment margin is reduced. Borrowing from his academic journey at Strathmore School of Management and Commerce where he is in his fourth year, Fredrick, together with a group of his peers, formed a company that trains and provides the necessary skills for startups and growing entrepreneurships.
When and why did you Start Youth+Africa?
Juma: Youth + Africa was conceptualized in 2011 and actualised in 2015 by a group of eight friends. We organised an entrepreneurship conference for young aspiring and established entrepreneurs within Nairobi County.
It began mainly to address youth unemployment problems that we also were facing. Research states that only 40 per cent of graduating students get a job within the first year after they graduate, leaving the majority out in the cold.
We, therefore, started Youth + Africa with the aim of building the capacity of startups and SMEs to the extent where they have the ability to absorb much larger amounts of human capital thus reducing unemployment.
How has the journey been?
Juma: Getting the right team in place was our biggest challenge; we had about four different evolutions of the teams we worked with before we finally settled. Another challenge was getting the support of partners and organisations we approached.
It took us about four years before anyone wanted to be a part of what we had in mind. We worked hard towards visibility and worked on our first conference last year. The training, working with 47 entrepreneurs, was a great experience.
Over the three days of training, our audience got mentorship from about 13 different coaches and executives. Since then, we managed to learn and grow allowing us to train a total of 139 young people in Nairobi and Kiambu Counties, building the momentum slowly while ensuring we get better as we progress.
Which corporates have you partnered with?
Juma: The corporates we worked with included; Nairobi City Council, Resolution Insurance, Airtel Kenya, Nestle EA region office, the British Council, and ABTEI (Adebisi Babatunde Thomas Entrepreneurship Institute – aided by Strathmore Business School).
What is your role at Youth+Africa?
Juma: I work as the team leader making sure that everyone’s job is easier. I support all of our three departments; Conferences, Programs and Marketing.
Where do you see your company in the near future?
Juma: We see ourselves as an impactful resource that grows the whole continent. African economies are struggling, so we hope we can be able to have a presence across the continent, addressing youth unemployment.
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