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East Africa’s best: Entrepreneur wins Kshs1 million Sinapis seed capital

With its training programme now in its 7th year, Sinapis organises four-month advanced entrepreneurial training, specifically designed for entrepreneurs in Kenya.This is in partnership with the Acton School of Business USA.

During the organization’s fifth business pitching session on December 8, 2018, Lynda Njeru, the Cofounder of YZ-ME International, a sanitary products vending startup, won Kshs 1 million as a capital injection for her business.

The critical role of SMEs in the economy was highlighted by the National Economic Survey where SMEs constitute the majority of all new businesses in Kenya, creating 30 per cent of all jobs annually.

Speaking during the business pitching competition, Youth Enterprise Development Fund Chairman, Ronald Osumba, said,” An enabling business and policy environment is critical for SMEs and entrepreneurs to start and scale, and provide jobs for thousands of Kenyan youth. We need to include a social agenda in every business, to ensure entrepreneurs are creating solutions for our day-to-day problems.”

He added that the Small Businesses Bill will soon be introduced to parliament to protect local start-ups and SMEs from being overburdened with regulatory requirements of established companies.

“To enable young entrepreneurs’ access opportunities in Big 4 Agenda, the Youth Enterprise Development Fund is working with the State Department of Housing to set aside designated components to be locally manufactured and supplied by youth and women. These form at least 10 per cent of project cost of building 500,000 houses as envisioned in the big 4 Agenda.”

United Bank for Africa (UBA) CEO, East & Southern Africa Emeke E. Iweriebor hailed the importance of entrepreneurs in Kenya’s economy.

“Entrepreneurs convert local business ideas into globally scalable business models. Through the Tony Elumelu Foundation, a commitment of USD100 million was made to train and upscale African entrepreneurs. To date, 350 Kenyan entrepreneurs have won grants from the foundation.”

Youth Affairs secretary in the Deputy President Office, Anthony Kibagendi, challenged entrepreneurs to innovate products and services for government, confirming that the 30 per cent preferential procurement is an untapped opportunity for SMEs.

“This is a right given by the government, not a privilege by procuring bodies and soon noncompliance by procuring government entities will be culpable,” he said.

He revealed that the government is investing in technical training to ensure a stable flow of skilled labour in the market to drive the contribution of SMEs to the economy.

Matthew Rohrs, the CEO Sinapis outlined the growth of the Sinapis training programmes to other regional towns in 2019 including Thika, Nakuru, Mombasa and Kisumu.

“The entrepreneur academy that was first launched in Nairobi has further grown globally to Ghana, Brazil, Uganda and Liberia,” he added.

With Kenya ranked 61 among 190 economies in the ease of doing business, according to the latest World Bank annual ratings, the Sinapis Entrepreneur Academy will enable local entrepreneurs to build scalable businesses that can expand to the rest of the world.

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