Safaricom Foundation launches fund for Kenyan youth-owned startups

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The Safaricom Foundation has launched a revolving fund aimed at assisting youth-owned businesses in Kenya lacking access to micro-credit.

The fund will be managed non-governmental organisations Junior Achievement Kenya and Hand in Hand Eastern Africa, with beneficiaries set to be trained in entrepreneurship and business literacy before becoming eligible for loans.

“Many young people who wish to start small and medium enterprises lack the capital to do so and unfortunately financial institutions classify them as high risk borrowers who cannot access financial support,” Joseph Ogutu, Safaricom Foundation chairman, said.

The foundation said the fund was launched as a response to statistics indicating 75 per cent of Kenya’s population under the age of 30 was unemployed, with a further 800,000 young Kenyans entering the job market every year.

“We believe that through this revolving fund, we will significantly contribute to the reduction of unemployment because we are looking forward to support young people who have exciting ideas but nobody is willing to finance them,” Ogutu said.

Applications for training and funding can be made through the Safaricom Foundation website, with application forms also available at the offices and websites of the partners.

Safaricom as a company has made a number of efforts in recent months aimed at supporting Kenyan startups, launching a US$1 million investment fund as well as the third edition of its AppWiz competition.

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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