Kayole youth benefit from business training

Monday, April 20th, 2020 00:00 |
Mwenesi Musalia, CEO Jonathan Jackson Foundation and Joshua Tambo, founder K-Shoes present Richard Williams his certificate. Photo/PD/COURTESY

Milliam Murigi @millymur1

In 2019, the Small Business Administration released statistics indicating about 20 per cent of start-ups fail in the first year.

About half succumb to business failure within five years and by year 10, only about 33 per cent survive.

These statistics are rather grim, and Jeremiah Kingori, a businessman based in Soweto, Kayole in Nairobi understands this language quite well, having started more than five unsuccessful businesses in a span of three years. 

He says lack of relevant business and management expertise for business owners in finance, purchasing, selling, production, and hiring and managing employees is always the number one reason why start-ups fail.

“I used to think that once you open a business, you only need to be there for it to be successful, but I was wrong.

I have learned that apart from your presence you need management expertise to succeed,” says Jeremiah.

Despite his urge to join a higher learning institution to gain all the knowledge and skills he needed, lack of finances has always been a problem.

Graduands display  their certificates on graduation day. Photo/PD/COURTESY

However, Kingori and nine others can now run their businesses professionally after attending and graduating with a mini Master of Business Administration (MBA), entrepreneurial studies courtesy of Jonathan Jackson Foundation and K-Shoes.

Skill development

Established in 2014, K-Shoes is a youth-focused organisation that uses recycled materials to make and sell shoes locally at a low price, but exported to the US and UK at a higher price.

Jonathan Jackson Foundation was founded in early 2019 to improve livelihoods of youth and women in underprivileged communities within Nairobi through economic empowerment activities, community-focused initiatives, sports, and arts.

The 16-week training, which started in December last year, took  place at Kibera Community Empowerment Organisation (KCEO) training centre. Where K-shoes administration has been running business training to enable youths to commercially-run their start-ups and earn a living.

“Education and skill development is probably the most important thing you can give someone to better their circumstances.

No one can deprive someone else of what they have learned and now deem their own,” said Mwenesi Musalia, CEO of Jonathan Jackson Foundation.

The graduates from Soweto and Mathare settlement join the workforce as qualified business managers, a skill that will ensure their continued ability to earn a living and provide for their families indefinitely.

Mwenesi says this is the long-term focal areas of the foundation to reach out to economically empower local communities and as the year 2020 continues, plans are in high gear to set up permanent training centres to ensure continued upskilling.

“We were trained on digital marketing, financial modelling, business development, records keeping and accounting, leadership development, pitch desk and how to attract investments as well as business legal issues and tax,” said Jeremiah. 

And to ensure they reach the right people, Mwenesi, says they work with groups already running a business but experiencing managerial problems. And for a group to qualify, they are assessed and vetted.

Successful business

“As a foundation, we pay tuition fees, transport, and meals for the trainees for the entire period.

After that, we give them some capital to start them off. We also visit them every three months to see the progress,” adds Mwenesi. 

This was the second cohort to attend K-Shoes Mini MBA course. The first group, which was from Kibera, is running their business successfully and the two partners have been following them and have seen some changes.

“We want to reach as many youths as possible because youths have decided to change, but they haven’t been embraced in the community.

We want to bring a change in our communities and we want to ensure youths are successful in their adventures, “added Mwenesi.

Pauline Muasya, another beneficiary, says the training will help her better manage her business.

Apart from that, she will start keeping records and accounting documents, which will help her in assessing the financial situation of the business at any time.

“I am in clothes selling business, but I have never kept accounting documents. From the training, I am now ready to start keeping accounting documents because it will help me monitor my business progress,” she says.

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