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World Bank, Kenya launch $50m Entrepreneurship Project

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Kenya and the World Bank have launched Kenya Industry and Entrepreneurship Project (KIEP) aimed at providing a platform for Kenyan youths to use their talents in developing innovative solutions to drive manufacturing over the next six years between 2019-2024.

Betty Maina, principal secretary for industrialization at the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Cooperatives said that Kenya Industry and Entrepreneurship Project (KIEP) will strengthen the innovation ecosystem as part of the implementation of the Kenya industrial transformation program.

“The project marks an important milestone towards the ongoing digitizing and transformation initiatives for Kenya’s global competitiveness that is expected to create additional jobs for the youths,” Maina said at the launch in Nairobi.

Maina revealed that the 50 million U.S. dollar project that is co-funded by the World Bank will also create industry platform to link startups, traditional industries and international networks in select private sector firms for the next six years.

She added that the project will also aid small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in improving their managerial and technical capabilities in order to better compete at both local and international markets.

The official said that KIEP will help enhance intra-Africa trade through increased productivity and competitiveness of Kenyan firms.

“The development of the private sector is the key to growth, job creation and youth empowerment in the developing countries,” Felipe Jaramillo, World Bank country director for Eritrea, Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda said.

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Jaramillo said that SMEs are a pillar for the development of national economies and requires necessary support.

He urged the government to adopt the digital economy as a blueprint for supporting ecosystem to elevate the project to the next level.

“With a proper application of innovation, productivity and digital solutions, Kenya can be the leader in Africa in trade-related matters,” Jaramillo noted.

KIEP aims to increase innovation and productivity in select private sector firms in Kenya by strengthening the private sector (including startups, SMEs, incubators, accelerators, technology bootcamp providers, etc.) through financial grants and technical assistance. The project will benefit 33,050 individuals and 2,393 firms, including students, SMEs, and local startups.

The Project consists of three components:

Component 1 seeks to strengthen the innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem in Kenya by building the capacity of incubators, accelerators, and rapid technology skills providers (collectively called ‘intermediaries’). It also seeks to connect the Kenyan ecosystem to international networks of talent and support infrastructure, and foster links between startups and traditional industry. In addition, this component aims to bridge the technical skills gaps in the market by linking young talent and academia to the private sector.

Component 2 strives to increase productivity at the firm level by supporting Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in improving their managerial and technical skills and their use and access to technology.

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Component 3 provides support for communications, M&E and implementation of the project.

 

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