Laikipia County Government is urging youths to apply for Sh16 million entrepreneurship fund and stop lamenting over the little amount being disbursed through the Financial Inclusion Fund (Hustler Fund).
Trade and Cooperatives Executive Stephen Biwott told a youth entrepreneurship summit in Nanyuki Town that the devolved unit would assist young upcoming business people develop viable business ideas and finance them.
“A programme to empower the youth to find a footing in the business world has been launched. What we are doing is to build the capacity of our young men and women on business ideas, guide them through and provide financial support in the form of a revolving fund but with a very low interest rate of six percent per year,” said Mr Biwott.
Following the launch of the Hustler Fund by President William Ruto last Wednesday, millions of shillings was disbursed within hours but some young people complained over the amount being disbursed which is capped at between Sh500 and Sh50,000, dismissing it as too little for new entrants to the business world.
“I applied for the fund through phone and got a response that I qualify for Sh600. Surely, this amount is not even enough to start a maize roasting business. It can only boost a person who is already in business but not for starters like ourselves,” quipped Peter Ngugi, a youth from Majengo Estate in Nanyuki Town.
Some people who have applied are yet to get a response to know the amount they can borrow and if indeed they qualify.
“I had hoped I would get at least Sh1,000 to boost my small business of selling earrings, perfumes and rings. But since Thursday, any time I apply through the code *254#, I always receive a message asking me to wait for two hours and nothing comes out of it,” complained Ms Agnes Wairimu, a trader in Nanyuki Town.
Mr Biwott is now advising potential entrepreneurs keen to grow or start new businesses to reach out to his office where they were assured of getting all the support they need including finances and not solely rely on the Hustler Fund.
“Last time the County Youth Enterprise Fund was disbursed was in 2019 but repayment challenges arose due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This time, however, we have put mechanisms where we shall train the applicants, advise and assist them accordingly in implementing the best idea depending on individuals’ environment and interests,” said the CEC.
Youth in Business Kenya President Cyrus Kiarie Munga who organized the summit told the youths that they should never be disillusioned over lack of business capital.
“Once a person is focused and disciplined, little money will never be an excuse. I know of a hotelier in this town who only a few years ago started a business of selling boiled eggs at the bus stage with a capital of Sh500,” Mr Munga told some 100 youths drawn from across the county.