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Enablis, ILO, unveil business competition

Mr Fredrick Kariuki, the Regional Director for Enablis East Africa.
Mr Fredrick Kariuki, the Regional Director for Enablis East Africa.   Nation Media Group

The Enablis Entrepreneurial Network East Africa and International Labour Organisation (ILO) on Thursday launched the 2012 annual business plan competition aimed at identifying and growing emerging and existing entrepreneurs.

The competition, which runs between November 2012 and February 2013, is a platform for Kenyans with outstanding businesses or ideas to showcase their innovations through written business plans.

The competition which aims at promoting entrepreneurship development in Kenya is supported by ILO, the Safaricom Foundation, Inoorero University and Chase Bank.

Prize money will be awarded to winners in the four categories that embrace agri-business and agri-processing including manufacturing; information and communication technology including IT-enabled service business, processing and outsourcing; media, marketing and communication, arts, sports, logistics, tourism and recreation including business and professional services and; green and ecological business including social businesses.

To enter the competition, aspiring entrepreneurs will submit an online business plan entry from November 12, 2012.

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The competition’s training partner, Inoorero University, will conduct a series of awareness and training sessions in selected counties across the country for those with limited skills in writing business plans.

Since 2011, business plan competition entrepreneurs have been funded and loans approved to the tune of Sh28 million through a loan guarantee programme that Enablis has with Chase Bank.

“While we appreciate that today’s nascent businesses will be tomorrow’s giants, this year’s competition will focus more on mature businesses because they are much more ready for funding and mentorship and therefore job creation,” said Mr Fredrick Kariuki, the Regional Director for Enablis East Africa.

The 2012 competition will be rolled out in four phases and is open to Kenyans aged 18 and above. The competition will accept submissions from start-ups that have been operating for less than one year as well as existing growth oriented businesses.

The awareness and training sessions will be the second phase. Submissions will be closed on December 18, 2012, after which they will be evaluated, scored, and ranked. The top finalists will be announced on January 18, 2012.

The finalists from different counties will be invited to Nairobi for further training and final judging, which will culminate in the winner’s gala on February 22, 2013.

“The opportunities for formal sector employment are limited at any one point in time, but there are many more opportunities for innovation, entrepreneurship and self-employment,” said Ms Sanda Ojiambo, Head of Corporate Responsibility at Safaricom.

“The Safaricom Foundation has been able to keep track of the winners from past business plan competitions many of them are now employing other people; reporting impressive turnover figures and contributing to the growth and development of the economy”.

ILO Youth Enterprise Facility (YEF) National Project Coordinator George Waigi said the organisation aims to facilitate the creation of 4,000 new businesses and at least 7500 new jobs in Kenya in the next three years. “We believe that not one institution on its own can adequately address or solve the challenge of unemployment young people face,” Mr Waigi said.

“The partnership with Enablis and other sponsors is the surest way to reach more people and encourage them to join the entrepreneurship sector thereby creating more jobs. Some of the successes from this project directly contribute to our mandate hence we are proud when ideas are discovered and nurtured to the point of receiving financing for business growth.”

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