Kenya ICT Board kicks off business plan training at Strathmore University

Kenya ICT Board CEO Paul Kukubo speaks at a past event

Business strategy training for the Tandaa Digital Content Grant shortlisted applicants is underway at Strathmore University. The training, which runs in batches from January 23 – February 3, 2012, seeks to impart business knowledge to shortlisted candidates from last year’s Tandaa Digital Content Grant Call for Proposals.

Understanding how to write a business plan, price products and develop a market penetration plan are some of the important business strategies that all entrepreneurs must understand. But for many founders of start-up companies in Kenya, opportunities to take courses to learn business strategy are few and far between. Time constraints for busy business owners and the high cost of quality business courses hinder many new entrepreneurs from taking such classes. But the value is undeniable, as participants at the Business Plan training sponsored by the Kenya ICT Board discovered.

“I’ve learnt a lot,” says Graham Muhunga of SMSVoices, “Having a good idea doesn’t mean you’ll make money. I’m learning to think differently about our business.” Muhunga, who represents one of the companies that was shortlisted for the Tandaa Digital Content Grant, finds that one of the valuable things he has learnt is the importance of research and correctly identifying the industry their business is actually in.

“Our courses are designed to be interactive and hands-on,” says Dr Monica Kerrett, Program Director for the project at Strathmore. “Participants are encouraged to talk about their business idea as a core part of the curriculum. It has been refreshing to hear the participants share challenges and give each other tips and feedback.”

The Kenya ICT Board announced the top 150 applicants to the Tandaa Digital Content Grant Call for Proposals in September 2011. This is the second round of granting the Kenya ICT Board is offering to fund development of digital content and services in Kenya.

The Call for Proposals for the second round of the Digital Content Grant focused on ideas for solutions that use web and mobile technology. After selecting the top ideas, the Kenya ICT Board is now exposing the entrepreneurs to essential business strategies to help them design their business plans.  After submitting complete business plans, a maximum of 40 finalists will be selected to receive grants of up to $50,000 each to develop their digital content products.

“In the first round of the Tandaa Grant we received many good ideas from passionate entrepreneurs,” explains Kaburo Kobia, Project Manager for Local Digital Content at the Kenya ICT Board, “But for many, the business side of the proposals were not as strong.”

In response to the challenges applicants had with developing business plans, the Kenya ICT Board introduced the training component to the Grant Call for Proposal process.

The Kenya ICT Board hopes that the training will not only increase the quality of proposals received but have a lasting impact on the applicants and equip them with skills they need to successfully grow their business.