Press releases | Development Cooperation 11.03.2014

Siemens Stiftung intensifies its program to foster micro-entrepreneurs in Kenya

Calistas is now a self-employed photographer – and business is booming.

Siemens Stiftung expands its entrepreneurship training program and is thereby promoting personal initiative and social entrepreneurship. On March 10, the opening of a new solar station, the Water-Energy Hub, marked the start of entrepreneurship training for the local community in Honge on Lake Victoria. In collaboration with Kenyatta University in Nairobi, Siemens Stiftung has developed a detailed curriculum that rewards successful candidates with a certificate from a recognized educational institute. In partnership with the Kenyan organization The Youth Banner, the program is being implemented at the foundation’s existing project locations.

Being able to run a small business of their own and to live off its profits is the dream of many people in rural and peri-urban areas of Kenya. Moreover, it is often the only chance they have to generate a regular income. There is no lack of creativity: selling books and household goods, supplying fishing equipment, manufacturing and selling soap and detergents are only a few of the numerous ideas people have come up with. To ensure that these ideas can develop into a business with real economic and social perspectives, Siemens Stiftung is supporting the professional implementation of such ventures through a training program for entrepreneurship.

New partnership with Kenyatta University

A special curriculum dealing with business management, customer service, accounting and finance management was developed in cooperation with the School of Business at Kenyatta University. In addition to instilling basic business know-how, the curriculum focuses on the development of social and life skills. The program targets micro-entrepreneurs from rural and peri-urban areas who are able to take part in a local educational program and receive a nationally recognized certificate from Kenyatta University at the end of their training.

Successful combination of training and mentoring

After completing a four- to six-week period of training, the participants are put through a six-month mentoring program. During this period, experienced coaches and mentors help them compile their business plans, gain wider ranging business contacts and arrange any necessary microcredits.
Speaking about the program, Wamuyu Mahinda, founder and CEO of The Youth Banner, a Kenyan youth welfare organization and cooperation partner of Siemens Stiftung since 2012, says: "The new training program by Siemens Stiftung and Kenyatta University creates further role models whose success stories can motivate entire communities and engender economic and social transformation."

Expansion of the program to new communities

The entrepreneurship training program is being offered at locations of existing basic service projects of Siemens Stiftung. "Projects such as the Water-Energy Hub provide access to clean drinking water and energy, thereby creating a vital infrastructure for the neighboring communities", said Christine Weyrich from Siemens Stiftung at the opening ceremony for the Water-Energy Hub in Honge on Lake Victoria. "We use this infrastructure for our training program and offer additional programs such as computer courses to help the budding entrepreneurs become more professional with regard to administration and communication."
In the coming months, further entrepreneurship training courses will be carried out in various regions of Kenya - at the Water-Energy Hubs in the western part of the country and at the water stations near Nairobi and Thika. The local operators will also take part in the training courses and receive the basic know-how necessary to run such a micro-enterprise successfully. 

Kenyatta University

Kenyatta University is a dynamic, an inclusive and a competitive centre of excellence in teaching, learning, research and service to humanity. It provides quality education and training, promote scholarship, service, innovation and creativity and inculcate moral values for sustainable individual and societal development. The Center for Entrepreneurship and Enterprise Development (CEED) within the School of Business is a leading research, training and consultancy center in entrepreneurship and enterprise development in the region and beyond. Its mission is to reduce poverty & unemployment and create wealth through inspiring, supporting and professionalizing entrepreneurship among the youth and community.

The Youth Banner
The Youth Banner (TYB) is a not-for-profit organization, which was established in May 2010 by Wamuyu Mahinda, Founder and CEO. It empowers the youth in Kenya economically by creating an enabling environment for youth to earn sustainable incomes. This helps the youth to deal with some of the issues affecting them that include: High level of unemployment, HIV infection especially among young women and high rate of extreme poverty. The members go through The Youth Banner Experience that is comprised of Training in Entrepreneurship, Coaching, Mentorship, Linkages to finance and markets, Exposure, Community Service and Peer-to-Peer support.

Siemens Stiftung
ENCOURAGE. empowering people. The Siemens Stiftung wants to empower people to actively address today's social challenges. Together with its partners, it designs and implements local and international projects with the aim of promoting individual responsibility and self-initiative. The foundation is committed to developing basic services and social entrepreneurship, promoting education and strengthening culture. The Siemens Stiftung pursues an integrative approach and stands for responsible, impact-oriented and innovative project work.