After a delayed start due to COVID, our D.I.G. Entrepreneurship program launched with three teams consisting of SYEF alumni and other youth community members. The D.I.G. program provides approximately six months of training and mentoring to the teams to develop their ideas and business plans, with the caveat that businesses must not only demonstrate potential for profitability, but address a social need or issue as well. The budding entrepreneurs are taught the fundamentals of business management and entrepreneurism, then lined up with a local businessperson for mentoring and support as they develop their business ideas. Once finalized, the plans are implemented with a grant from SYEF for the necessary start-up costs to get the businesses off the ground, and the teams receiving ongoing support and mentoring during their first full year of operation.
As of January 2021, the first ever juice parlor is now open for business in Samburu, with a focus not only on selling juice, but educating customers about the benefits of specific fruits and vegetables, which are not a significant part of a traditional Samburu diet. Also launched is a new “kinyozi” barbershop, with a focus on serving youth who will get their haircuts in a barbershop environment that reinforces the value of education through conversation and décor. Finally, a new bead shop will provide a reliable source of beads for use in making traditional Indigenous beadwork. We look forward to seeing their success, and the example they can provide to other individuals in the region!