Unemployment has been one of the biggest challenges for the young people in Kenya and beyond. It is for this reason that various entities have started initiatives to provide solutions to this challenge by encouraging an entrepreneurial spirit among the youth and empowering them to venture into businesses. One such initiative is the MbeleNaBiz working in partnership with entities such as Kenya Youth Employment & Opportunities Project (KYEOP), World Bank and the State Department for Youth.
MbeleNaBiz runs a Business Plan Competition that aims to invest in young entrepreneurs in Kenya by providing grant funding of KES. 900, 000 or 3.6Million. In the just concluded competition, our alumna Caroline WangariMuhia won the highest grant of 3.6M after participating in what she called a tedious process but one that enabled her to sharpen her proposal writing skills, pitching skills as well as crafting and refining her Eco - homes business expansion idea.
Wangari is our Bachelor of Commerce graduate and the CEO/Co-Founder of Matla Group Limited; a real estate and development company that was formed in 2018 to provide affordable ready-to-build investment solutions in form of land to Kenyans who are looking to develop homes immediately or in the near future. “It's our core business to support youths and women to achieve the home-ownership dream by having tailor-made products and guiding them through the land acquisition processes in Kenya so that they can leverage the economic power to design their future”- says Wangari. Using the 3.6M grant money, Matla Group Limited will be the lead developer of Eco-friendly homes using locally available resources. The CEO says that the drive towards this idea is because a majority of low-middle income earners are burdened by a sudden housing crisis as rental rates are increasing while the available affordable rental units are shrinking exposing them to negative impacts caused by housing insecurity. “Our end goal is to improve the quality of life of people and in safe neighborhoods, promote stability in families and enable people to save more for the future” – she adds.
Wangari’s advice to those looking to venture into entrepreneurship is that it is a journey that calls for commitment and resilience. “A business is like a small baby - one has to keep injecting resources; especially time while expecting little or nothing as returns. That is why they say, 'you must love what you do then practice to be great at it'. If one is forming a business with the main motivation being money then it won't last for long. Find mentors to walk you through the entrepreneurial journey and finally practice discipline between personal and business resources, never mix these two”.
Several other alumni of Dedan Kimathi University of Technology participated in this completion with some of them winning the KES. 900, 000 grant. We congratulate Wangari and wish her the very best in her venture as an individual and the top leader of Matla Group Limited.