Rural Kenya more so within the coastal region is facing many complex problems and challenges. The governments at national and county levels and the private sector have implemented a limited-range of developmental programs to address these problems and improve the quality of life of people living across the coastal region, hence inadequacy in addressing the issues of unemployment. Therefore, for these initiatives to be successful and address the rural challenges there is need for effective application of innovative ideas that are transformative in terms of coping with local challenges by customizing on local-led solution to issues of youth unemployment in the rural areas.
Innovation can be a master-key or linchpin to creatively address rural challenges. The announcement by the president of Kenya on the big 4 agenda has sparked tremendous impetus to creating an innovations and technology diffusion in the sphere of rural development in order to enhance achievement of government agenda mostly on industrialization and food security. Currently there are many Technical vocational education training (TVET) centers in Kenya that are aiming to build the skills of young people, but the innovation and start up skills have not been adequately addressed. There is need on covering the entire spectrum of requirements needed by an entrepreneur and agripreneurs such as starting from incubation/production to market support, to mentoring and so on.
Therefore, the initiatives for accelerating the startup business and agribusiness culture are yet to gain momentum among the rural youth more so along the coastal Kenya, mostly due to lack of support and mentoring. Encouraging entrepreneurship and agribusiness from the grassroots, to address the day to day rural problems has huge potential for transforming both the on-farm and off-farm sectors. Often, the practical innovations developed by people in rural areas do not reach full-scale development due to lack of appropriate support. Therefore, there is a compelling need to create a youth hub which can provide critical support for design and fabrication, facility for linking with mentors, investors and incubators, financial guidance, marketing linkages to enable the innovation and focused on the needs of rural areas more profitable and sustainable.
Innovation and entrepreneurship in rural areas is necessary for providing livelihood and overall economic growth. They help in successful diffusion of technologies and new ideas for the benefit of society at large.
The hub aims in achieving the following key objectives within entrepreneurship and agribusiness;
(i) Provide a platform for startups working on rural problems to transform their pilot scale initiatives into impactful ventures for the benefit of rural economy.
(ii) Creating collaborative and consortium partnerships for promoting rural entrepreneurship.
(iii) Extend initial support or tie-ups for startups to scale up their innovations.
(iv) Link the startup entrepreneurs with investor and finance institution to enable them raise the seed capital
(v) Building the skills of youth in ICT that will enhance their digital marketing skills.
(vi) Training youth in professional photography skills
- Providing opportunities to rural youth that promote innovative agricultural enterprise and agribusiness.
- Raising agribusiness skill levels and economic opportunities to rural youth.
- Advancing youth-led agribusiness networks and provide interactive agricultural information service
- Raising awareness of gender issues among youth and providing equal opportunity for agribusiness advancement to young women
- Improving the practical agribusiness skill sets among future graduates of vocational schools and universities
PROTOTYPING OF THE HUB.
The hub seeks to build the capacity of the youth in the following main categories that is, entrepreneurship, agripreneurs, Arts and theater, ICT skills development and photography by targeting startups. We seek to enhance the development of business ideas through incubation and learning on the best practices on entrepreneur development.
KEY COMPONENTS OF THE YOUTH HUB
Photography and videography room
The youth will get training in basic photography and videography skills, especially those dealing with arts and theater. These skills will go along way in enhance better content development through visual. Promote their content in YouTube and social media by utilizing the skills gain.
The youth will be able to acquire basic ICT skills that they can tap into in promoting their work. The skills enhance improve the digital skills in social media and YouTube content development, that will enable them amplify their work and also market their talents on a global scale.
Entrepreneurship and Agribusiness room
The youth will be learning best investment practices and marketing, this will enable youth develop a business acumen that will translate into investment ventures. The room will be useful for brainstorming sessions amongst start-up ventures in curving their entrepreneurship path.
Arts and theater room
Arts and theater room will be used for enhancing talent development in arts and theater. Youth will be able to combine their skills and talent in this field by developing content that will be appealing to audiences, then promote their content in social media and YouTube channel to enhance their visibility as well as generate profit.
The following are key activities that will be carried out within the hub center;
Component 1: Skills and Capacity Development. Activities include: i) exploration and expansion of the novel approaches toward youth empowerment; ii) training on returns to arts and theater, agribusiness, videography and photography; iii) introducing trained youth to new, profitable agricultural and agribusiness ventures that sustain decent work good practices; iv) assistance in business plan development, agribusiness proposal and loan application; v) collaboration with national and local governments, and the private sector to stimulate profitable, sustainable and wealth-generating agribusinesses; vi) training on the use of ICT and social media in agribusiness, arts and theater and photography development; vii) strengthen youth linkages with farmer organizations; and viii) train youth agripreneurs in financial services provisions and management linked to banking institutions.
Component 2: Talent promotion Expo.
The hub will provide a platform through which youth can showcase their talent within the hub, this will help in adoption of outstanding talents for incubation.
Component 3: Youth Networking. Activities include: i) Linking the potential youth entrepreneurs to enhance better collaboration and partnership. ii) Providing youth with a platform of exchanging their ideas, knowledge and skills. iii) Mentorship platform for willing youth in the fields of arts and theater, agribusiness and photography.