MKU founder urges State to consider mentoring graduates in business

Sunday December 30 2018

MKU Chairman Simon Gicharu

MKU Chairman Simon Gicharu looks in a microscope as a group of medical students watch. PHOTO | FILE | NATION 

DAVID MWERE
By DAVID MWERE
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The government should consider mentoring graduates in entrepreneurship if Kenya’s economy is to expand, Mount Kenya University founder Simon Gicharu has said.

Mr Gicharu said to succeed, public and private industries should work closely with universities and colleges to train the graduates and reduce unemployment.

INITIATIVE

He added that universities churn out thousands of young people every year, many of them who end up jobless.

Mr Gicharu said some of them turn to crime.

“Universities have the capacity to train hundreds of young people to become entrepreneurs and help the government achieve its goals,” Mr Gicharu said in a statement.

During a graduation ceremony at a university in Nyanza, President Uhuru Kenyatta challenged institutions of higher learning to spearhead the attainment of the Big Four Agenda through innovation.

Mr Gicharu said the President’s call is welcome though it should be supported by the government.

SOLUTIONS

The President has listed universal healthcare, affordable housing, manufacturing and food security as the goals he intends to achieve before he completes his second and final term in office in 2022.

Though the implementation of the Big Four Agenda is financially constraining for a government that is struggling to service huge foreign debts as well as containing rampant corruption in the public service, agencies like Youth Enterprise Development Fund and the Women Enterprise Fund should be strengthened to provide capital to enterprising young men and women, Mr Gicharu said.

“Mt Kenya University has mentored a number of students through its Graduate Enterprise Academy,” Mr Gicharu added.

"Of the 24 enterprises created by GEA beneficiaries, nine are contributing directly to the President's agenda. We are training the youth to become job creators and not job seekers after they graduate."

A student entrepreneurship training programme was introduced in Kenya in 2012 by Germany's Leuphana University, Mr Gicharu said.

WORKSHOP

He added that the scheme has had a great impact locally.

The German university fully sponsors the Students Training for Entrepreneurial Programme — known as Step — in partnership with the Kenya National Commission for Unesco.

Through this initiative, about 200 undergraduate students from Kenyatta and Mt Kenya universities will be trained in January and April 2019.

A hundred more from Isiolo County would be trained to enhance their business skills.

Leuphana University is expected to host an international conference and a workshop on Step in Germany under the theme Africa and Europe Moving Forward: Evidence-based Solutions for African Development.