What you need to know:
- Their voices need to be heard in the Startup Bill.
- How many young entrepreneurs and SME proprietors have read the Bill or even downloaded it?
- The Startup Bill 2020 is a framework that seeks to mainstream and decentralise innovation.
There is a need for youth, women and persons with disabilities (PWDs) entrepreneurs to meaningfully participate in the ongoing public participation forums, which aim at seeking proposals to be incorporated in the Startup Bill that is before the Senate.
Most local start-ups are youth-owned and -led, making them the most important players and stakeholders whose voices need to be heard in the Bill. But lack of information and awareness about it will see their voices, ideas and contributions left out.
How many young entrepreneurs and SME proprietors have read the Bill or even downloaded it? For those who have heard about it, how many can understand what the Bill is about or what it aims to achieve?
The Startup Bill 2020 is a framework that seeks to mainstream and decentralise innovation. It is also meant to provide an enabling environment for the establishment, development and regulation of start-ups. That will help to streamline the processes and address barriers such as reducing costs and the time taken to register a business.
Benefits of the Bill include simple and subsidised formalisation and closure of start-ups, protection of intellectual property and innovations,provision of funding and non-financial support and improving the investment environment for start-ups.
Start-ups need support such as training, capacity building and access to information. They can also apply for incubation and other start-up programmes and venture capital opportunities.
Their feedback is very important as it will help in communicating to the government what the entrepreneurs want and need to be done for them.
The public participation forums taking place in a few counties are also a good opportunity for the devolved units to be involved and ensure that the voices and views of youth from the remotest rural parts of their jurisdiction are included. The youth, women and PWDs would then ‘own’ the Bill.
One can download or read the Bill at Startupbill.Ke and then give their feedback, which will be captured by the responsible team. After that, the views will be taken to the House for debate.
The private sector is one of the largest employers in Africa. By creating an enabling and conducive environment for business that has low cost of doing business, the government can create employment opportunities for many young people as opposed to giving them handouts as an ‘empowerment’ measure.
There is a need for youth’s voices, inclusion and participation in all government processes, policies and activities. It is time youth fought for their seat at the table.
Linda Chepkwony, youth and gender trade consultant, Nairobi