Scheme launched to empower East African entrepreuners
by SAVIOUS KWINIKA
JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) – SYSTEMS Applications Products (SAP), the software firm, and Acumen, a non-profit global venture fund, have announced a strategic investment in a programme for social entrepreneurs in East Africa.
The programme, is in line with the SAP Skills for Africa initiative designed to help the companies grow and scale.
Chosen for their proven business model, potential to scale and outlook for job growth and social impact, the CEOs of the selected companies will participate in a 100-day fellowship program.
Kicking off in Silicon Valley, widely recognized as a leading entrepreneurial ecosystem, the fellowship has been designed to address the pain points of early stage growth companies including strategy workshops, networking, leadership skills and organizational growth strategies.
Pfungwa Serima, Chief Executive Officer of SAP Africa, said despite recent political challenges, Kenya continued to experience strong growth, due to its broad-based economy, strategic location and above all, its youthful population.
“But without creating more jobs for its young people, Kenya will have challenges living up to its potential. Small businesses can significantly help to reduce youth unemployment in this important market.
“As this announcement underscores, SAP is committed to finding innovative ways to solve critical social and business issues in Africa and provide today’s young people – and tomorrow’s leaders — with access to the tools they need to succeed in the digital and networked economy,” Serima said.
Acumen’s East Africa Director, Duncan Onyango, said they saw tremendous potential in this selection of entrepreneurs.
“Our hope is that, by leveraging SAP’s core capabilities and by utilizing their fellow CEOs as resources, this cohort of Acumenen trepreneurs will be able to not only scale their enterprises but also share best practices with others in the region to influence the overall sector and deepen their impact,” said Onyango.
Meanwhile, Kenya needs to create some 3,9 million new jobs to stem youth unemployment by 2020.
This is according to a new study released on Wednesday by SAP SE and global nonprofit organization, Endeavor, which established that over 1,5 million people are currently unemployed in Kenya.
Over a third of them are young people between the ages of 15 and 24.
Kenya’s workforce is nonetheless projected to grow by 3,4 million people by 2020, due primarily to new young adults entering the job market.
High growth entrepreneurs have the potential to be major job engines in the country.
According to the study entrepreneurs are growing at 20 percent or more per year and represent only five percent of Kenyan firms, but created over 70 percent of the total new jobs.
– CAJ News
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