The United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc. through its Corporate Social Responsibility arm the UBA Foundation has partnered with The Youth Enterprise Development Fund (YEDF) in Kenya to empower African youths. The partnership that seeks to identify, finance, train and mentor young Kenyan entrepreneurs who qualify for the Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme will see the two institutions work together to leverage on expertise, resources and geographical spread.
Speaking at the launch of the partnership in Nairobi, UBA Kenya’s Head of Public Sector Group, Timothy Kihiko alluded to the shared goal that both the Youth Enterprise Development Fund and UBA have to promote youth entrepreneurship in Kenya.
“One of our focus areas under the UBA Foundation is Economic empowerment and through this partnership we will see youth get empowered and become better entrepreneurs”, Kihiko said.
One the challenges faced by young entrepreneurs being start-up capital, The YEDF Chairman, Ronald Osumba added that, “the collaboration will enable young Kenyan entrepreneurs grow and sustain their businesses. We have reengineered our loan products to ensure that they are responsive to the diverse needs of young entrepreneurs. Consequently, monthly disbursements have risen from Kshs. 20 Million to Kshs. 100 Million showing that we are beginning to harvest the fruits of the changes we have instituted at the Youth Fund”
“This partnership will see more youths benefit not only from additional financing but also through local mentorship, training and counseling. The Youth Fund provides a revolving loan facility that has seen many Kenyan youth start and grow their businesses to profitability to a level of offering employment opportunities to other youth”, reiterated Josiah Arabu Moriasi, the Chief Executive Officer Youth Enterprise Development Fund.
The Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship foundation initiative has since 2015 offered seed capital to thousands of African youth to help them sustain their businesses. The partnership through UBA Bank will see Kenya’s young entrepreneurs benefit on an annual basis through Identifying innovations and guiding development of business plans. Both YEDF and UBA will undertake a joint sensitization in order to disseminate information on call for applications to potential beneficiaries as represented in various counties across the country.
Creating awareness for the programme has already kicked off with tours to Machakos, Meru, Garissa, Mombasa, Nakuru and Uasin Gishu counties to mobilize the youth and enlighten the applicants on evaluation criteria. Kajiado, Nyeri, Nakuru, Nyamira, Kakamega and Kisumu counties will be next in line for the tours with the goal to give Young Kenyan entrepreneurs a guide on how to develop business plans, receive training and mentorship as well as additional funding for their start-ups.
Since it’s inception the Tony Elumelu Foundation and by extension the UBA Foundation, offers qualifying African start-ups $5000 non-refundable seed capital. The Youth Enterprise Development Fund now going forward monitor these youth and gradually support their innovations while providing additional working capital to expand their businesses through the it’s Vuka loan product.