Community Economic Elevator Program
Opportunities through micro-entrepreneurship
In order to promote micro-entrepreneurship in rural and peri-urban areas of Kenya, Siemens Stiftung collaborated with the School of Business, Kenyatta University, to develop a practice-oriented training program and to teach certified trainers, who educate the micro-entrepreneurs in the local communities.
With The Youth Banner, a local youth welfare organization, we have cooperated since 2012, integrating the trainees in a long-term coaching and mentoring program that will support them on their journey towards becoming micro-entrepreneurs.
What has been achieved since the start of the program?
Along with the transfer of basic business know-how, the development of personal skills is crucial to the success of the training program. The combination of trainings, long-term coaching and mentoring, plus access to start-up capital, has proven to be a successful one. Already in the pilot phase, based around the Water-Energy Hubs on Lake Victoria, the program met a great deal of interest among the local community. In January 2013, when the necessary human resources and organizational infrastructure had been set up, the program kicked off with around 30 participants. Shortly afterwards, another 130 trainees joined them. In the meantime, coaching and mentoring groups sorted by sectors were established as well as specialized groups for graduates of the local Polytechnic Academies, focusing on specific industries such as transport or fishing, or groups exclusively for women.
Until now, 1.300 graduates successfully completed their training and mentoring program and were honored at a ceremony. Until 2017 another 1.500 trainees are going to join the program. Aged between 18 and 35, the graduates had undergone around four weeks of training in entrepreneurship and social skills, followed by approximately six months of personal coaching and mentoring in small groups.
Following the successful pilot phase, the program content has been further refined in collaboration with the Center of Entrepreneurship and Enterprise Development at Kenyatta University's School of Business. The program is also being extended to other Kenyan locations with Water-Energy Hubs (WE!Hubs) and Safe Water Enterprises (SWEs).
Comments of participants:
Philister Okeyo, owner of a shop selling school books and household goods
“The business know-how and skills I was able to acquire during the six-month program are priceless. Not only have I learned a lot about accounting and finance, I am now able to write a business plan. But the most important thing of all is: I now know how to run my business intelligently. I have learned how to assess my customers correctly, and have a good idea of what they need and will probably buy in the future. This enables me to perfectly align my range of goods with the requirements of my customers."
Jeremiah Otieno, fish offal dealer
"This training program has changed my life. I used to earn around 25 euros a month on average. I now have a monthly income of about 250 euros, and can even afford a motorcycle. I'm really proud of what I've achieved!"
Michael Otieno Oguto, soap manufacturer
"What I've learned about accounting helps me to keep a constant check on my finances and enables me to save money at the same time. I'm delighted that my business now enables me to support my family and pay my children's school fees."
Charles Amwayi, supplier of fishing equipment
"Having a sensible business plan is the most important thing of all. Accounting is crucial to a successful business. After all, you need to know how much you can spend on your purchases. With my range of goods I am able to support the fishermen in their work. I am happy that I can do my part for the people in my community. I also want to pass my knowledge on to other people so that they can benefit from it as well."