News | Development Cooperation 14.04.2016

Spread the idea of social entrepreneurship: 550 new graduates of the Community Economic Elevator Program honored, second StartUp Cup in Kenya initiated

community economic elevator program winner
Community Economic Elevator Program: winners in categories such as “best entrepreneur,” “best business plan”, or “best group leader” designated.

The Entrepreneurship Training program developed by the Siemens Stiftung and The Youth Banner, a Kenyan business mentoring network, has been renamed the Community Economic Elevator Program. The program has been successfully conducted in communities featuring Safe Water Enterprises and Water-Energy Hubs since 2012. In March 2016, another six-month training and mentoring phase was completed, and approximately 550 new graduates received certificates issued by the School of Business at Kenyatta University, among others. Special recognition was given to the winners of the categories “best entrepreneur,” “best business plan,” “best training group” and “best group leader”.

During the graduation ceremony held in Kisumu on Lake Victoria (Nyanza Region), the second round of the StartUp Cup in Kenya was launched. The objective of the competition is to identify innovative and replicable business ideas that can be successfully implemented in a number of different contexts. Over the long term, this program is designed to produce local entrepreneurial eco-systems that will make a positive contribution to economic and social development in communities. 

For many of the graduates, completion of the program represents a turning point in their lives. The practical training program teaches the fundamentals of business to students and helps them develop their own comprehensive business plans in small groups. By putting their ideas into action during the program, the students can jointly take on challenges and share in the success. Experienced business people serve as mentors who advise the young entrepreneurs and provide valuable contacts to business partners, banks, customers and suppliers. “The key to success for many small and medium-sized enterprises is developing a reliable network of business partners and a strong customer base,” said Philip Odouma, the local project coordinator of The Youth Banner.

In this effort, program participants gradually set up their own small company and organize alumni meetings at many training locations where they can help and support one another. The best entrepreneurs whose business ideas have particular growth potential attend a follow-up program that provides them with targeted business consulting support that they can use to successfully expand their business and create jobs.