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Kenya Youth Employment and Opportunities Project (KYEOP) is a transformational project that aims to empower and uplift the well-being of the youth in Kenya by equipping them with essential training, internship and business grant opportunities. The development objective of KYEOP is to increase employment and earning opportunities among targeted young people across Kenya. The project aims to reach over 280,000 youth during the project period in urban and rural areas in the following 17 implementing counties; Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu, Nakuru, Kwale, Kitui, Migori, Turkana, Kiambu, Kakamega, Kilifi, Nyandarua, Mandera, Machakos, Kisii, Bungoma and Wajir.

The main beneficiaries of the project are youth between 18-29 years of age (with some component extending up to 35 years) who are jobless and have experienced extended spells of unemployment or who are currently working in vulnerable jobs. The level of education of targeted beneficiaries will be up to Form 4.

The project has 4 components that are being implemented by different Government Agencies as follows:

  • Component 1: Improving youth employability, implemented by MIIYA and the National Industrial Training Authority (NITA)
  • Component 2: Support for job Creation, implemented by the Micro and Small Enterprises Authority (MSEA)
  • Component 3: Improving Labour Market Information, implemented by the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection
  • Component 4: Strengthening Youth Policy Development and project management, implemented by the State Department for Youth, in the Ministry of ICT, Innovation and Youth Affairs (MIIYA).

The Micro and Small Enterprises Authority (MSEA) is implementing the component on Support for Job Creation through provision of business start-up grants and Business Development Services training to vulnerable youth aged between 18-29 years. The component addresses key constraints and market failures that limit the demand for youth employment and their productivity once in employment. These are:

  • Lack of start-up financing for young entrepreneurs;
  • Lack of managerial and entrepreneurial skills among youth;
  • Lack of relevant exposure and networks for starting and growing a business among youth.

Support for job Creation responds to the need for job creation with initiatives to help;

  • Launch new businesses
  • Improve the productivity and job creation potential of existing micro-enterprises and among self-employed youth
  • Support innovative approaches to improving job and earning opportunities among the hard-to-reach youth.

This component aims at assisting youth in Kenya to acquire the skills and capital required to help them in generating an income as an Entrepreneur “Mfanyabiashara”.

It includes two subcomponents:

  • Support for self-employed Provides Grants and Business Development Services (BDS) to the youth who are in or want to begin a business.
  • Catalytic interventions for job creation Supports innovative interventions to create jobs for targeted youths by financing business plan competition targeting high potential young entrepreneurs.

Business start-up grants provide Kes. 40,000 in seed funding to youths to invest in business. To date, the project has benefited 69,069 youth through issuance of grants worth Ksh. 2.7 billion. By the end of the project MSEA will have disbursed approximately Kes 2.8 billion to 78,000 youth

Employment tracking shows 88% of youth who received the grant have started or expanded their business. Out of the 88%, 46% had employed other youth within the same target group. There’s been drastic improvement on youth income levels after the grant showing a reduction in those earning zero income from 25.9% to 7.3% of the population monitored. 49% of Grant and BDS beneficiaries were women.

The initial target for business start-up grants was 30,000 youth. However with the tremendous performance realized under this sub-component, the savings from other interventions across the agencies were incorporated to enhance the target to 78,000 youth across the 17 implementing counties.

Business Development Services Training

The Business Development Services training (BDS) sub-component 2.2 is meant to help Kenyan youth in acquiring entrepreneurship and managerial skills to help them grow their business.

The training was delivered through a four (4) day Classroom Training and/or three (3) month coaching sessions and short term face-to-face proactive business counselling in the youth’s business premises (field visits) which were later phased out by Digital BDS training in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

To date, a total of 9,384 youths have received Business Development Training through either Classroom Training, Coaching or both. An additional 64,482 youth have received BDS training digitally, that is, through SMS. 81% of BDS beneficiaries are in gainful employment 6 months after the intervention.

To learn more about the project,