Gems conference challenges students to be innovative

Delegates during the Gems Young Leaders and Enterprise Conference at Gems Cambridge International School, Nairobi, on March 2, 2018. The annual event is held to promote creativity and entrepreneurship. PHOTO | ANTHONY OMUYA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

What you need to know:

  • Students were urged to take formal education seriously, but also learn from the environment and from their mistakes.
  • They were also encouraged to get mentors to help them be successful.

Devolution Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa has encouraged young people to venture into business as the government has made doing business easier in Kenya.

"As the government, we have put in place policies and strengthened the legal framework to protect your ideas and to ease the process of starting an enterprise and doing business in the country," he said during a young leaders and enterprise conference at the Gems Cambridge International School.

CONFERENCE

Entrepreneurs also urged the youth to work hard.

Panelists from diverse sectors, including education, human resources and information technology, gave students their take on how to become successful and told them to be resilient during the fourth annual event.

Students from different schools in Kenya also presented their business ideas.

The young people, in teams and also as individuals, represented the Gems International schools in Nairobi and Kampala, St Andrew's Turi, M-Pesa Foundation Academy and Upper Hill High School.

IDEAS

Presentations included ideas for cashier-less supermarkets, environmentally friendly and energy efficient homes, smart closets, re-usable sanitary towels, a matatu-hailing app and mobile libraries.

Panelists for the forum were Pauline Kiraithe, a human resources expert; Wycliffe Omondi, co-founder of the ticketing service used by the SGR Madaraka Express; Ivy Mutiso, the managing director of Food Solutions Management Consultants Ltd; and Aprielle Oichoe who has expertise in cyber security.

"You need to be resilient. Be ready for change because this world is very versatile and everything is changing," Ms Oichoe said.

She added that young women should not conform to stereotypes but strive to stand out in every field they want to venture in.

LEARN

A second set of panellists, including veteran banker Collins Wanyonyi, entrepreneur and hedge fund manager Barclay Paul and women's activist Alyssa O'Connor urged students present to have a clear destination in mind when planning their future.

"The world owes you nothing. You have to work hard for everything that you desire in this life," Mr Paul said.

Students were urged to take formal education seriously, but also learn from the environment and from their mistakes.

They were also encouraged to get mentors to help them be successful.

Students from Gems International Kampala were selected to have the best idea – they proposed to teach women in rural and slum areas in Uganda to make and sell reusable sanitary towels.

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