Friday, May 31, 2013

Expectations Mismatched

As we all know by now, at SKY TRUST we are all about youth empowerment. After my inspirational moment in my last post (your welcome), my attention was drawn to the evaluation of the Kenyan job market and its limits towards young people. Thanks to the restrictive requirements from employers and lack of application feedback, young people are being limited in the job market, they are not being provided with the support (at least none that I know of) they need to transition from education to work. 

Lack of transparency in recruitment processes and a failure to tailor interviews for people who have no prior experience of work limits young people from accessing employment. Young people are caught up in a 'vicious cycle' as individuals without access to work opportunities as they are turned away from roles requiring experience. This factor prevents business from benefiting from a diverse pool of talent.

So could it be a case of mismatched expectation? Its seems to me  that too many young people are struggling to find their first job, whereas many employers are finding it difficult to get the skills they need. This mismatch needs to be addressed, not only to reduce youth unemployment and the long-term impact it can have on young people, but also to ensure Kenyan businesses are equipped with the right talent for the future.

Policy makers need to do more to ensure that careers advice and guidance are embedded into the national curriculum with more support for young people during the transition phase between education and employment. 

                                                  Creating Economic Possibilities

Monday, May 27, 2013

More young people are idle than ever before. This answer those who have been wondering aloud how bases such as outside Hilton hotel are sometimes packed to capacity with humanity (no, most of the people are not picnicking). Just walk the streets of Nairobi, and you will find idlers  outside offices, hotels, stalls and restaurants. 

One thing that sticks in my mind is mainly the psychological effects of youth unemployment. We all know how frustrating and boring it is to be idle. Not only does it crush your self esteem, you end up feeling worthless and uninspired. While young people go to school, finish and expect to join the job market in order to meet  their obligations and expectations towards society, they later on discovered how without a job how unforgiving society can be. After a long period of absentee paychecks and diminished savings, a deterioration of the individual begins at the sociological and psychological levels. 

Society views unemployment as a sign of failure, and rejects those who cannot meet the expectations placed on them. Sadly in most of our African cultures children are viewed as assets expected to give back after much investment in them. It is sociologically believed that stress, anxiety and depression shown by the unemployed youth is a result of pressure brought about by social expectations. These unmet social expectations then cast a dark shadow over any silver lining that might be potential hope. The consequences include increased risk of alienation, lack of financial resources, criminality, future exclusion from the labor market and ultimately, suicides or accidents. 

Our work here at SKY TRUST is firmly rooted at engaging young people who feel marginalized and excluded (not limited to them though) by ensuring that we can reach out to the youth in our city and successfully assist them in building a sustainable lifestyle for themselves, regardless of their background, personal aspirations or academic ability. We engage youth in day to day activities and community development initiatives aimed at helping them improve their skills.

It is suffice to say that no man is an island. We all have an affinity and responsibility to help each other grow.  The sooner society embraces this fact then the more equipped it will be in terms of providing tailored support to help those young people who are desperate for work.

                                                           Creating Economic possibilities

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Starting a business is not about how intelligent or wealthy one is, but about the practical skills and determination to do what you have to do. Young people in this country need to be show they have skill and talent to turn their lives into something positive.  

Many young people are desperate to turn their lives around but find that they are excluded from formal employment because of their background – a lack of qualifications.They find themselves in a deep hole where all options appear to be closed.

Personally, I think the jobs market is making a permanent shift and that in future people who can offer their own services will be in the strongest position. The traditional workplace, is evolving and there is already a trend towards more work being outsourced, thus the traditional long-term employment can't be relied on. The only way to be secure is to have the skills and knowledge to create security for oneself, and entrepreneur-ism is the way to do this.Starting a business gives young people the chance to make the most of their skills, when traditional routes are blocked.

Creating Economic Possibilities

We at SKY TRUST believe our grass root approach is the key to introducing business to young people who think it is out of their reach. We may not turn things around overnight, but we shall endeavor to offer opportunities for the Kenyan youth to find a new direction.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Money or Skills??

I would like to take this moment and appreciate the goodwill of His Excellence President Uhuru and his Deputy Vice President Ruto for proposing 6 billion worth of funds to women and youth.

What intrigues me though is whether youth need more money or more skills. Much as giving young people money to start a business so as to create jobs for themselves, is a great move, priority should be place on equipping them with skills that are needed to empower them in that business. 

From observation, it seems that most youth groups, are set up to take out loans because they are available to them, but fail in business, due to lack of cohesion within the group.Because the group was set up for the transaction process (getting the money) its almost impossible for them to make repayments of the loan. Of course not all youth groups go through this, they are some successful stories, but they seem the minority.

Kenya's youth need capacity building (skills), especially on the issue of business management skills. Fortunately, Startup Kenya Youth Trust, is not only about youth economic empowerment, but we also focus on capacity building, that include business ideas, business plans, financial literacy, marketing, and through mentor-ship providing capacity building in leadership, communication, record keeping, adherence to mention just a few. As stewards of the youth in Kenya, we are working towards bringing positive transformation.

Creating Economic Possibilities

Monday, May 20, 2013

Youth at heart, Pt1

Kenya has, 80% unemployed youth between the ages of 15-34 years old (study by UNDP). Basically this means that more than 1.8 millon unemployed are young people. Youth unemployment is the most pressing issue for young people in everyday life. Promises (e.g., free education, diverse economy that is less dependent on agriculture, so that they’re are jobs in other industries for young people, who flock the urban center) have been made to create jobs, including attempts to diagnose and fix the problems causing youth unemployment.

The youth however are aware that the promises are often forgotten right after they have been made. Most have been unable to find full-time jobs, instead resulting to minor jobs such as selling fruit on the roadside. It is one of the informal jobs known as "tarmacking" – walking the streets looking for day-to-day tasks, which are low paid.

Were as there is seemingly good intentions to empowering the youth, more positive impact is needed on the ground.

Creating economic possibilities

Friday, May 17, 2013

About production business

Its a beautiful Friday morning this side of Africa, the sun is out, weather not as gloomy as it has been the past days. What does that all have to do with this post? Everything.... especially that's its a great day to be alive and getting something going that is helping in making other peoples lives better.

While alive (work with me), I recently came across a story about young people now engaging in business deals with prominent business people in order to attain state contracts. How it  works, a prominent dealer, targets a disadvantage young entrepreneur, with the belief that he/she will not be found out because they lack the scent of "obviousness" and the capability to exploit the procurement process, making it quite easy for them to be granted the contract. Why do they do so? Because they are rules that govern the procurement procedure in Kenya, so that dishonest business people don't benefit all the time.

So sponsoring young less fortunate people to get the job done is the trick of the day.  Mine is not to point a finger, but to just highlight that the problem here is mostly likely after all is said and done the dealer benefits (getting preferential treatment) while the disadvantage youth remain in the same state of poverty. Regardless of a few shillings made, the problem is still not solve. Needless to say, that's why organisations like SKY TRUST are created, to provide economic possibilities  for young people in Kenya so that they can benefit positively.

Talking of benefiting, SKY TRUST is up to some amazing and inspiring stuff. I gather, there is a "TV show, production in the works. About? All I can write for now is cameras, lights, contestants, action and prizes are involved, with one lucky winner taking it all. Pictures coming soon!!

Creating Economic Possibilities

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Starting out!!!

We would like to take this opportunity to thank Harry Karanja, for donating his blog to Startup Kenya Youth Trust SKY TRUST, as the French would say it, "merci beaucoup".

As highlighted in the previous post, Startup Kenya Youth Trust - SKY TRUST is all about helping talented Kenyan young entrepreneurs achieve their potential, by giving them economic empowerment through business seed funding.

 Startup Kenya Youth Trust
Creating Economic Opportunities

Took as a minute to come up with the logo, but eventually it came to us, as in a video, as in a drama (smiles). While starting out, the twist to it, is SKY TRUST takes a more exciting and engaging approach as opposed to boring and rudimentary process, normally associated with charity activities (or not??). Either way expect to be intrigued by our daily growth and experiences.You will be kept on the loop of all the magnificent events/activities that will be unfolding. Of course you are also welcome to be engaging, as we embark on this new exciting journey. Ecstatic, if you ask me!!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Startup Kenya Youth Trust

The last post as Harry

Since 2006 I have enjoyed your company and patronage as I put down my thoughts in black and white on this blog. I started this blog to share my experiences in entrepreneurship but I also ended up learning, making new friends and developing my own ideas on what I really wanted to do.

For a long time I have known that the knowledge and experiences I have been fortunate enough to acquire must not be confined within me, but must be used to generate wealth, success, and fulfillment for others. Today I therefore wish to announce that I will be donating my blog and twitter handle to the charitable trust Startup Kenya Youth (SKY) Trust .  I look forward to continuing our engagement under the banner of SKY Trust.

A bit about SKY Trust.

SKY Trust was founded in 2013 by Harry Karanja. SKY Trust's goal is to act as a catalyst to entrepreneurship among people under the age of thirty

Harry started his first business when he was fifteen, retailing bread and biscuits to his fellow students at a 50% margin. Although the business only ran for a month, the thrill and excitement that making money had on him would remain throughout his later high school years and college years. It was the bite of this entrepreneurial bug that saw him at the age of 21 - while a student of law at the University of Nairobi - co-founding SoftLaw, a pioneering legal publishing firm that also made him a millionaire before he graduated.

SoftLaw's success helped Harry found Genius Executive Centre (GEC) in 2005; a commercial business incubator that revolutionized how businesses access office space in Nairobi CBD. With GEC Harry discovered his love for starting and helping young entrepreneurs establish their businesses, which directly led to the founding of SKY Trust.

SKY Trust assists young entrepreneurs through financial support, management consultancy, office facilities, business process outsourcing. mentorship and coaching. It seeks out inspirational stories of young entrepreneurs to motivate other potential young entrepreneurs and galvanize an entrepreneurship movement in Kenya

We welcome you on board.