Young entrepreneurs in seven counties, including Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu, will be the first batch of beneficiaries to receive grants of up to Sh3.6 million each in a World Bank-funded programme.
The Micro and Small Enterprises Authority (MSEA), which is overseeing the scheme, Tuesday identified the first set of counties ahead of the project’s roll-out.
Aside from the three Kenyan cities, the list of pioneer beneficiary counties includes Kiambu, Nakuru, Kwale and Migori.
The MSEA Tuesday invited bids from prospective consultants to offer youthful entrepreneurs below 29 years business development services, including training and digital content dissemination.
This is the second time since February that the authority is inviting bids, the first of which was for organisers of business ideas competition.
“The youth to benefit from digital delivery of business development services will include those already in business as well as youth interested in starting businesses,” reads a notice.
“This initiative will address lack of managerial and entrepreneurial skills and promote self-employment and earnings-generation among self-employed youth and youth start-ups.”
The World Bank recently released Sh15 billion for the implementation of the Kenya Youth Employment and Opportunities Project (KYEOP) which was first announced in 2016.
The initiative involves a business ideas competition, whose prize money is between Sh900,000 and Sh3.6 million in grants per beneficiary.
A team of independent judges will initially select a pool of candidates countrywide, to be taken through three rounds of vetting before winners are feted.
Part of the World Bank funds will go towards supporting companies that offer to bridge jobs skills gaps among college graduates through internships.
Kenya has the highest unemployment rate in the region, according to last year’s UN Human Development Index report.
Mass unemployment continues to affect the country despite the economy growing at an average rate of five per cent over the past eight years.
The programme targets young people aged between 18 and 29 years “who are without jobs and have experienced extended spells of unemployment, or are currently working in vulnerable jobs.”