FarmBiz Africa

Varsity receives Sh56.8m grant to finance and mentor 1,200 agribusiness entrepreneurs

Africa Youth in agribusiness tomatoUnited States International University-Africa (USIU) has been awarded Sh56.8m which is set to benefit about 1,200 agribusiness entrepreneurs in Kenya through mentorship and financing.

The university through its Global Agribusiness Management and Entrepreneurship (GAME) Centre has been implementing a project seeking to uplift the capacity of youth in agribusiness across the country.

In the project dubbed Metro-Agrifood Living Lab model, “a unique set of activities and services that create the needed synergy” to support learning, innovation and business development will be brought together.

The Sh56.8m grant has been provided by the Cultivate Africa’s Future (CultiAF) — a joint programme of the International Development Research Center of Canada (IDRC) and the Australian Center for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR).

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According to Paul Zeleza, the university’ Vice Chancellor, the project is as a result of the success the university has achieved in the first phase and we will employ the same working relationship to ensure that we have an equally successful project and reach out to more youth and women in Kenya.

“Food security can only be achieved through actively engaging the youth in agri-business enterprises.”

The project will expose trainees — 60 percent of who will be women — to business concept evaluation and development, business planning, marketing and feasibility studies.

It will also provide linkages to financing and marketing channels, strategic advice and legal assistance, specialised technical assistance and development of a business plan to be presented to potential financiers.

Successful applicants selected from the national and county governments’ agricultural officers will be assigned business mentors.

Recruitment drives will be conducted in Nairobi, Machakos, Kajiado, Kiambu, Nyandarua, Nyeri, Kirinyaga, Muranga, Malindi, Kilifi, Tana River, Mombasa, Kakamega, Vihiga, Kisumu, Busia, Nakuru, Bomet, Kericho, Baringo, Bungoma, Uasin Gishu, Pokot, and Trans-Nzoia.

The project will also focus on innovative solutions to improve food security in Eastern and Southern Africa.

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