The World Bank has promised to award the business group that will emerge winners in the MbeleNaBiz online competition that was mainly launched to tackle unemployment.
The World Bank has set aside 1.38 billion shillings to give to the 750 businesses in the competition, as confirmed by World Bank Country Director for Eritrea, Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda, Carlos Felipe Jaramillo.
250 SMEs will be given about 3.6 million shillings while the remaining 500 businesses will receive around 900,000 shillings.
He said that the MbeleNaBiz competition does not directly target the unemployed youth but seeks to target youth who are promising in terms of business.
Youth entrepreneurs who have a business idea or already have an existing promising business will be given grants to improve themselves and as a result, create employment opportunities for other youth.
According to Jaramillo, there is an increase of working age population but no jobs for all of them, as each year, about 800,000 youth seek employment but only 100,000 jobs are created annually.
“Due to the small number of formal jobs, the youth end up working in low productivity jobs and are not able to earn a decent living, hence, are not able to contribute significantly to the economy,” he noted.
MbeleNaBiz competition, that is running throughout the country, also offers an opportunity for women entrepreneurs and Small and Medium Entrepreneurs (SMEs) who have often shied away from participating in business competitions.
A similar competition has happened in Nigeria before and as a result, nine jobs were created for every SME that was funded by the World Bank.
Trade CS Peter Munya said that there will be thorough scrutiny for applicants of the competition to ensure that only genuine startups that have been hindered from growth due to lack of funds are selected to participate.
“Collaboration between the government and the private sector was key to the program’s success. The competition will favor SMEs whose businesses are aligned to the Big Four agenda,” Said CS Peter Munya.
Interested applicants are to apply via www.MbeleNaBiz.go.ke portal where they will provide evidence of their ongoing startups and a business plan by September 9.
Training of shortlisted businesses is set to begin in November.