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Realizing social entrepreneurship: 550 new graduates of the Community Economic Elevator Program honored and launch of the second StartUp Cup in Kenya

The entrepreneurship training program developed by Siemens Stiftung together with the Kenyan business mentoring network The Youth Banner will in future be called the Community Economic Elevator Program. It has been successfully implemented in the communities around Safe Water Enterprises and Water Energy Hubs since 2012. Another six-month training and mentoring phase ended in March 2016, at the end of which the approximately 550 new graduates were awarded a certificate issued by the School of Business at Kenyatta University, among others. Special recognition went to the winners in the categories “Best Entrepreneur”, “Best Business Plan”, “Best Training Group” and “Best Group Leader”.
During the event in Kisumu on Lake Victoria (Nyanza Region), the second round of the StartUp Cup in Kenya was also started. The aim of this competition is to identify innovative and replicable business ideas that can be successfully implemented in different contexts. In the long term, this creates local entrepreneurial ecosystems that contribute to positive economic and social development in the communities.
For many of the graduates, completing the training program is a turning point in their lives. The practical training courses impart basic business knowledge and support the participants in small groups in developing their own, comprehensive business plan. By starting your business idea during the training, challenges and successes can be shared and mastered together. Experienced business people also advise the young entrepreneurs as mentors and provide valuable contacts to business partners, banks, customers and suppliers. Philip Odouma, the local project coordinator of The Youth Banner, is convinced that "building a reliable network of business partners and a permanent customer base is the key to success for many small and medium-sized companies."
In this way, the participants develop their own small company step by step and organize an alumni group at many training locations in which they continue to help and support each other. The best entrepreneurs, whose business ideas show promising growth potential, will be included in a follow-up program that offers you targeted business advice in order to successfully expand their business and create additional jobs for others.