Trending on Twitter between 3pm and 7pm today Thursday 14th April 2016 is #2jiajirichat, a hashtag created by KCB Group to promote their 2jiajiri Business Challenge and Mentorship programme for new ideas and businesses. The 2jiajiri Business Challenge is a competitive programme for those with business ideas looking for funding. People with interesting business ideas are encouraged to apply for for the 2jiajiri Business Challenge and Mentorship Programme between now and 31st May 2016. 2jiajiri Business Challenge is introduced as follows via the programme’s website bankika.co.ke:
Do you have what it takes? Do you have the desire to grow your start up? The KCB 2Jiajiri business challenge is here to enable your progress. Will you rise to the challenge? How?
During the submission period, Prospective individuals will be free to submit their ideas to Bankika.co.ke portal. The ideas will then be put through a vetting process by professional panel of judges to help in the selection of the winners. The KCB 2Jiajiri business challenge will offer a low cost fund between the businesses that emerge successful at the end of this exciting and interactive process! The winners will be taken through an intense and stimulating incubation process, where we aim to equip the young businesses with vital skills for a 6-month active investment period. This will be an innovative and robust journey that we are pleased to unveil.
Now the question is….Are you ready to start the journey to your dream?
According to answers KCB Group provided to those who asked questions under the #2jiajirichat hashtag, business ideas that are transformative, scalable, and economically viable will receive up to 100% of the requested funding; funding of which will be at a low cost loan issued after the successful applicant has undergone a six months mentorship programme. The low cost funding will attract low interest rates – as low as 1% per month (12% per year). It is not clear whether KCB Group will require equity in the business or whether their only benefit is the low interest rates.
Other important questions that Kenyans asked via the hashtag were the maximum amount of loan KCB Group will issue (no maximum limit), age limit (people aged 18 years and above), whether an individual can apply (both individuals and companies can apply), and whether one applicant can submit more than one application (no limit to the number of applications per applicant).
Programmes like the 2jiajiri Business Challenge are what have been missing in Kenya to improve the job situation. Instead of initiating programmes like the 2jiajiri Business Challenge by funding business ideas that are economically viable, scalable and truly transformative, programmes that would create millions of jobs if successful, the Government has opted for politically popular methods of giving grants and loans to groups composed of 10-15 people to do micro and small scale informal businesses that do not add value to the economy. Funds like the Youths Fund, Uwezo Fund and the many other affirmative action funds are not showing impacts to the economy as they are not directed towards business ideas that can scale to multinational levels.
We have written extensively about this 2jiajiri approach where we have recommended to the Government to channel funds to a few businesses per county/industry that can create real wealth to the economy instead of channelling the funds to, According Ephraim Njega, “a crowd of cowards that cannot drive any serious entrepreneurial agenda” in order to achieve political mileage. For example in 2013 Kachwanya wrote an article titled Uwezo Fund Is a Bad Idea, Create Investment Wing For Proper Funding in which he said, “I am looking at a situation where the fund is used to grow like 100 Businesses to a successful conclusion… The 100 businesses I am talking about can be from different industries…let say 10 Agriculture industry, 10 Mining industry, 10 Technology industry, 10 Construction industry… For instance, Uwezo Fund with 6 Billion, you are able to give each of the 100 companies 60 Million. That is enough to help each company to build the capacity and develop sound business structure. From there, the excuse we normally hear about the local firms lacking capacity will not be there especially when the Government is giving out the big tenders or contracts”.
Just like KCB Group, the Government should also realize that it is not only necessary to fund businesses that show success potential, but that those who have the ideas also need to undergo a thorough mentorship programme to instill in them business execution and decision making skills. This is why KCB Group has decided to foremost provide a six months mentorship programme for those who will have emerged winners in the 2jiajiri Business Challenge. The mentorship programme, according to KCB Group, “encourages connections between ambitious entrepreneurs with business leaders and trail blazers in their respective industries. These connections act as an open forum for communication to help the entrepreneurs to build their businesses with the collaborative effort and constant advice”.
The mentorship programme is not only limited to those who are applying for the 2jiajiri Business Challenge but to every other Kenyan (and non-Kenyan) who wishes to receive advisory resources and real world know-how to run their ventures professionally and profitably.
If you are a Kenyan with this ground breaking business idea, any business idea, an idea you believe if funded will change your life and the lives many others who will interact with your business, and that the only thing you have lacked is funds, then the 2jiajiri Business Challenge is what you have been waiting for. Remember, the deadline for the application is 31st May 2016.