German-based firm MentorMe has invested Sh18 million (150,000 Euro) on a pilot programme connecting job seekers and entrepreneurs to mentors in Kenya and Germany.
MentorMe Kenya has partnered with the German Development Cooperation to offer a pool of mentors to support job seekers meet career goals and training to micro, small and medium-sized enterprise (MSMEs) managers.
The year-long pilot programme targets to match at least 200 job seekers and 300 managers owners of MSMEs with mentors.
“The mentees will be accompanied by their mentors from Germany and Kenya for ten months via Zoom, Skype and in person on site,” said MentorMe Kenya programme lead Salline Handa.
The cross-border mentorship that will initially be offered for free relies on matching software that links up mentors and mentees from all fields and industries.
Kenya will be the launch pad for the programme in Africa that originally started in Germany in 2015 and has since facilitated 2500 beneficiaries realise career development and business growth goals.
The programme which is also co-funded by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD) will be implemented locally by the German Development Agency (GiZ).
“We are especially seeking out young people and women’s businesses that are focused on Green economy to address climate change,” said GiZ Country director Bodo Immink.
The number of Kenyans out of work has doubled over a decade of infrastructure-fuelled economic growth and faster adoption of technology that has left Kenya with the highest unemployment rate in the region.
World Bank data shows 5.7 percent of Kenya’s labour force was out of work in 2021, up from 2.8 percent when the Jubilee administration took over in 2013. The country’s economy has grown by an average of 5.0 percent since 2013 but this growth has come from capital-intensive infrastructure projects which have not trickled down to the average citizen.
Small businesses have also experienced a high mortality rate, partly due to lack of access to credit for financing working capital, but also due to the inexperience of new entrepreneurs.