Thursday, November 8, 2012

Today's Entrepreneurs

by Rebecca Musanga and Thomas Bwire

Have you ever wondered why some businesses thrive and end up being big companies? And have you ever asked yourself why some big companies end up to their downfall? Well the answer to a better managed business entity is through proper planning, undertaking a market research to understand its need.

November 3rd 2012 was a day set aside by Barclays bank staff that came all the way to Kibera to undertake a community service among the children of Uweza Foundation.  Their mission was to teach and mentor youths aged between ages 12-23 on life skills, financial skills, and entrepreneurship skills. Despite the chilly and rainy muddy day, all the participants both from the Barclay’s team and Uweza had the energy to go all the way. Sessions were organized for different age groups in some of the classes at Toi Primary School.

Uweza youth ages 12-14 received mentorship on life skills from Barclays staff members
The older youth were taken through the fundamentals of growing a small business with as little capital as 1,000 Kenyan Shillings and the major points that are essential for business growth.  One of the major factors one should consider in starting a business is the demand of product. Second is the package, available market and quality of the product. These factors play a big role because many people consciously or unconsciously buy things not because they need them but because they saw them and were attracted to them.

To become a good entrepreneur, one needs to be bold and good in negotiating skills, social, persuasive, determined and goal oriented. At the end, the greatest investment one can ever make is in the people themselves and not in the machines. With the help of some of the facilitators like Ramesh Kavil, Charity Kimathi and Francis Mwango, the group of older youths were now able to understand how things work in the real business world.

Ramesh Kayil of Barclays leads a lesson to Uweza youth ages 19-23
An in-depth interview with the Barclays Africa, Chief Operating Officer (BA, COO) Mr. Eric Modave noted that Africa is still the best place for market investment opportunities that can easily target the youth. “Youth comprise of a bigger population though we see many disparities among them, and that’s why Barclays is here to support youth ideas and possible ways of creating new jobs for them” noted Eric. 

Eric Modave teaching youth ages 15-18 about Africa's potential for entrepreneurship growth
 The Chief Operating Officer also added the need to embrace technology advancement in this area since most youths own mobile handsets that can hasten use of mobile banking, call centers, and internet use.  To put all the theories taught into practice, a section of the youths were divided into groups of three and each given a Ksh.1000 to purchase some clothes at the nearby Toi Market with an aim of selling to make profit. This had to be done within a time frame of 1 hour.

Organizing their goods purchased at the market
Upon their return to the event, some shops were opened and business took center stage as Barclays staff members bought some of the clothes displayed and gifted them to younger kids who had emerged winners in a dancing competition that was held.

Dancing competition winners with their new clothing donations
“I feel much different now, and I am thinking of possible ways I can start a small business one day,” were Ali Juma's sentiments.  While Dennis Odhiambo, age 19, also appreciates the few learned entrepreneurship skills that he had never given a thought to before.  Thank you to Barclays for their support in making this great day possible!

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