UNDP to support small and medium scale entrepreneurs in Marsabit

CD and GovernorUNDP Country Director Ms. Amanda Serumaga (left) and Marsabit County Governor H.E. Amb. Ukur Yatani take a look at some of the craft items that were being exhibited at the launch of the Marsabit Biashara Centre

Nairobi 27th June 2016….UNDP jointly with the County Government of Marsabit have launched the 3rd Biashara Center in the Country.  The Biashara center is a Business Development model whose objective is to promote inclusive economic growth and job creation by empowering small and medium entrepreneurs, smallholder farmers, youth, women and people living with disabilities.

“This Biashara Center will indeed be an important place for training our youth. They will access important trade information from within and outside the county to enable them launch and grow their businesses.  The center will play an important role in nurturing the already existing talent among the youth in Marsabit Town even as we look forward to expanding the services to other areas within the county such as North Horr, Laisamis and Moyale,” said Marsabit County Governor, H.E. Amb. Ukur Yatani. 

The Marsabit Biashara Center is a one one-stop-shop that prepares and nurtures entrepreneurs to start and grow their own businesses. The center empower the young population that is searching for opportunities, with linkages and skills to access markets. Women too will benefit from business development services, financial literacy, information and technology to improve their businesses. 

 “We all have a responsibility to facilitate productive and diversified economies in this country.  Such centers will form an integral part for long-term development.  This is because they create an environment in which our small and medium entrepreneurs can grow their capacity and forge ahead to create sustainable and resilient regional and global businesses,” said UNDP Kenya Country Director, Ms. Amanda Serumaga.

Already, over 50 local youth entrepreneurs have been trained on business skills development, market and market facilitation, feasibility studies, business plans, accounting and auditing, access to credit facilities and business incubation. One of the participants, Mr. Dogo is building an online platform that he envisions will transform livestock trading in Marsabit and neighboring counties. His idea born from the hope of making the trade less tedious and efficient. Currently people walk long distances to access Merille, the only livestock market in the county. He has created a mobile application that allows farmers and livestock traders to purchase livestock through the mobile phone linked to mobile money without having to meet at the livestock market. 

“I went to Nairobi to search for knowledge and opportunity.  Now that there are more opportunities at the county level, I intend to come back home and build my county. In Marsabit, we only have one technical training college that was started just recently, but through this Biashara Center, young people like me will have a place to access knowledge even if they are unable to further their studies in a university,” noted Mr.  Robert Dogo. 

A partnership in vocational skills training between UNDP Kenya, Housing Finance Foundation, Kuza Biashara fostered by and with the SDG Philanthropy Platform was also unveiled at the launch. More private sector and philanthropy partners are expected to join as well. It is anticipated that the training by this consortium will significantly transform the technology, access especially for youth, and the training offerings of the Biashara centre in line with 21st Century technology to reach more youth even in the most remote areas of Marsabit where youth cannot leave their occupations and income streams to learn full time.

 “We are providing a product that goes beyond the physical space. With the routers we offer, the youth will be able to access the ICT services available at the Biashara Centre within the comfort of their homes or Jua Kali sheds.” noted the chief executive officer of Kuza Biashara Mr. Sriram Bharatam.

The Center will also create a platform that will facilitate the development of conducive policy, legal, and regulatory environment, infrastructure and entrepreneurship spirit thus increase business productivity, access to capital, markets and market information, and expand formal outreach in Marsabit. To achieve this, UNDP is working with the Micro and Small Enterprise Authority (MSEA) to deliver on its mandate to formulate and coordinate policies that will facilitate the integration and harmonization of various public and private sector initiatives, for the promotion, development and regulation of the Micro and Small Enterprises (MSEs). 

“We want to encourage the people of Marsabit to look at the opportunities available to them and get creative with them. Our partnership with the Biashara center will extend our work to include not only the promotion of soft skills but technological as well,” remarked Ms. Caroline Sikasa from Housing Finance Foundation. Other partners in the project include the Kenya National Chamber of commerce and the Kenya Council of Governors. 

 

200 Innovative Water Barrels Distributed 

200 people from Marsabit County received free roll-able water containers that will help ease the manual work of fetching water. Women have to trek an average distance of 6 to 10 kilometers in Marsabit region and other parts of northern Kenya in search of water which they eventually carry on their heads or backs. These water barrels will help by saving them on time and the effort that is needed to carry the containers. The women empowerment project is a collaboration between the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and UK-based Roll Out The Barrel (RoTB) Trust. RoTB have designed this unique barrels made of strong plastic molding with rubber tyres and is funded by UNDP. The project hopes to directly impact the lives of 400 women about 1000 members of their immediate family that includes children. The UNDP and RoTB initiative begun last year with a similar launch made in Taita-Taveta and Kwale counties.