Kenyans twice more likely to start a business

About two out of every 10 young adult Kenyans aged between 18-24 years are engaged in entrepreneurship, which is double the global average. This shows that there is a high entrepreneurship spirit among Kenyans and the need to sharpen these skills even as early as secondary / high school level.

It would prepare many high school leavers to seek their own employment in a country where formal job growth consistently trails the number of secondary/high school and university graduates. 

Teaching entrepreneurship as part of the school curriculum, and consistently merging that with experiential learning, is one of the best ways to empower our young people to create future productive job opportunities for themselves and others.

According to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) 2020 Report, which covers 43 countries, including Kenya, the rate of early-stage entrepreneurial activity (TEA) among young people aged 18-24 in Kenya was 17.4%, compared to the average of 11.5% across all participating economies. This suggests that Kenya has a relatively high level of youth entrepreneurship.

The importance of entrepreneurship education in promoting entrepreneurial activity among young people is also highlighted in the GEM report. It notes that individuals who have participated in entrepreneurship education programs are more likely to start businesses, have higher levels of confidence in their entrepreneurial abilities, and are more likely to perceive entrepreneurship as a desirable career choice.

The Wavumbuzi Entrepreneurship Challenge –  a series of online Quests covering sectors such as agriculture, banking, creative/film industry, e-commerce, public health, renewable energy, smart living, sports and water – builds the ability of secondary / high school learners to solve real-world problems. It utilizes a competency-based approach reinforcing development of learners’ 21st Century skills (such as collaboration, communication, creativity, critical thinking, innovation and problem-solving), as well as the 13 entrepreneurial competencies (need to achieve, need for autonomy, taking action & initiative, values, self-efficacy, resilience, resourcefulness, money sense, mobilizing others, high-performance teams,  innovative problem solving, opportunity identification, and opportunity assessment. It will also support Kenya in achieving the Competency Based Education (CBC), which is based on what a Learner can do; rather than what they know, as well as enhancing the Basic Education Curriculum Reform core competencies namely digital literacy, citizenship, communication and collaboration, creativity and imagination, critical thinking and problem solving, learning to learn, and self-efficacy.

The Challenge inspires entrepreneurship through micro-challenges founded on real-life scenarios. The primary focus is to develop entrepreneurial aspirations in young people by exposing them to innovations across Kenya and other African countries. This year, Wavumbuzi is targeting 20,000 learners – in both public and private Secondary/High Schools with internet-connected digital devices – to register and actively participate.

As we approach 2030, value-based socially responsible entrepreneurs will play a pivotal role in transforming Kenya into an industrialized, middle-income country that provides a high quality of life to all its citizens in a clean and secure environment.

Dr. Roselyn Marandu-Kareithi, Country Lead, Kenya, Allan & Gill Gray Philanthropies (AGGP), Eastern Africa

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