Over 1.5 million people are currently unemployed in Kenya, and over a third of them are young people between the ages of 15 and 24. This is why Kenya needs to create more than 3.9 million jobs for young people by 2020, according to a study released by SAP SE.
Kenya’s workforce is projected to grow by 3.4 million people by 2020, due primarily to young adults entering the job market. High growth entrepreneurs have the potential to be major job engines in the country. According to the study, the number of entrepreneurs is growing at 20 percent or more per year and represent only five percent of Kenyan firms, but create over 70 percent of the total new jobs.
In alignment with the SAP Skills for Africa initiative, which promotes education to improve the problem of chronic youth unemployment and expand the IT workforce, SAP and Acumen a non-profit global venture fund that invests in companies, leaders and ideas to change the way the world tackles poverty announced a strategic investment in a program for social entrepreneurs in East Africa, designed to help the companies grow and scale.
Despite recent political challenges, Kenya continues to experience strong growth, due to its broad-based economy, strategic location and above all, its youthful population. But without creating more jobs for its young people, Kenya will have challenges living up to its potential.
Small businesses can significantly help to reduce youth unemployment in this important market. As this announcement underscores, SAP is looking to find innovative ways to solve critical social and business issues in Africa and provide today’s young people – and tomorrow’s leaders — with access to the tools they need to succeed in the digital and networked economy.
Some of the companies selected for the 2015 SAP Social Entrepreneur Fellowship are:
- Sproxil (East Africa) – a mobile verification service that helps protect consumers from counterfeit medicine and other health products
- Sanergy (Kenya) – a sanitation company that provides clean, affordable toilets and waste management services to low-cost areas
- SolarNow (Uganda) – a renewable energy company selling and financing solar home systems for low-income communities
Chosen for their proven business model, potential to scale and outlook for job growth and social impact, the CEOs of the selected companies will participate in a 100-day fellowship program. Kicking off in Silicon Valley, widely recognized as a leading entrepreneurial ecosystem, the fellowship has been designed to address the pain points of early stage growth companies including strategy workshops, networking, leadership skills, and organizational growth strategies.