Five Kenyan enterprises to share Kshs 13 million grant in UK’s business innovation contest

The UK government has issued a call for proposals for a Business Innovation Challenge, under its new 4-year Kenya catalytic jobs fund.

The Business Innovation Challenge seeks proposals from enterprises which are developing innovative solutions to create jobs, especially for Kenya’s youth. Up to 5 successful enterprises will receive grant funding and technical assistance worth up to Kshs 13 million (£100,000) each. The call for proposals targets initiatives that are innovative, scalable, sustainable and which can demonstrate substantial impact. The Challenge is focused on three broad areas: agriculture and manufacturing, the informal sector, and people in marginalised groups and areas. Shortlisted applicants will present their innovations at a pitch event in front of a panel of expert judges.

The Kenya Catalytic Jobs Fund is a Kshs 650 million (£5 million) 4-year programme, which will test and support innovations with the potential to stimulate large-scale job creation. The new Fund was announced by British PM Theresa May, during her visit to Kenya in August 2018 as part of a package of announcements aimed at supporting Kenya’s young people to achieve their goals.

Speaking about the Kenya Catalytic Job Fund, the British High Commissioner, Nic Hailey said: “More than 70 per cent of Kenyans are under the age of 30, and we know that job opportunities are a priority for them. This fund will harness the innovation and energy of Kenya’s entrepreneurs to spur job creation and support our mutual prosperity – and I am delighted that it will provide opportunities for marginalised groups, such as people with disabilities.”

The call for proposals for the Business Innovation Challenge will close on Monday April 8, 2019 at 11:59 pm EAT. To enter the Business Innovation Challenge, applicants must submit the online application form found at the Kenya Catalytic Jobs Fund website. The Business Innovation Challenge will be implemented by Mercy Corps as part of the fund’s pilot phase.

British PM Theresa May, announced a package of new initiatives to support African youth during her visit to the continent last year. This included a number of new initiatives in Kenya.

In 2018, the UK Department for International Development and the British Council co-funded the Next Generation Kenya research which aimed to understand youth attitudes and aspirations, amplify youth voices and, in turn, make a contribution towards improved youth policy. The report found that Kenyan youth are passionate about their country and are eager to contribute to its future, but highlighted job creation as an area of concern.

The Kenya Catalytic Jobs Fund will focus on creating jobs for young people, including marginalised groups, including those with disability.


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