50,000,000 Ksh. Awarded to TechnoServe’s Believe Begin Become Business Plan Competition

A Unique Initiative Seeking to Empower Kenya's Youth

NAIROBI, KENYA, MARCH 30, 2007 —The Ministry of Youth Affairs and Kenya Pipeline Company will award 50,000,000 Ksh. to TechnoServe to conduct the first annual Believe Begin Become Business Plan Competition in Kenya. On 30 March 2007, the check presentation ceremony will be hosted at his office by the Honorable Moody Awori, Vice President of Kenya. Also in attendance will be the Honorable Dr. Mohammed Kuti, Minister of State for Youth Affairs; Major (Rtd) Kinuthia N. Murugu, Permanent Secretary of Ministry of State for Youth Affairs; George Okungu, Managing Director of Kenya Pipeline Company; and Dan Kazungu, Regional Manager from Lenovo. The 50 million Ksh. check will be handed to TechnoServe Kenya's Country Director, Fred Ogana, and Manager of Believe Begin Become program, Wamuyu Mahinda.

The Believe Begin Become Business Plan Competition will welcome AFTER 12th April, applications from ALL current and hoping-to-be entrepreneurs across Kenya, especially disadvantaged young women and rural individuals. The competition is expected to attract over 8,000 business plan summaries, all of whose applicants will receive a one-day workshop in areas across Kenya before last submission date of 31 May 2007. The Top 300 entrepreneurs will then be selected by panels of judges to receive intensive training to develop their own formal business plans. This series of activities will stimulate and celebrate entrepreneurship, support individual entrepreneurs to set up businesses, and inspire this country still facing significant development problems. Multiple graduation ceremonies in the provinces will be held for the 300 semi-finalists and the Top 100 Finalists will receive their recognition 17 November 2007.

Kenya's Urgent Need Entrepreneurship Development— Especially for Youth— catalyzed this partnership among the Ministry of State for Youth Affairs, Kenya Pipeline Company, TechnoServe and other leading institutions. Government, educators, financial institutions, and multi-nationals recognize that the private sector must help create economic and job growth by expanding the capacity of Kenya's formal and informal entrepreneurs. Today's average unemployment is currently estimated at 23%, not counting those no longer seeking formal employment. There are many reasons for Kenya's chronic unemployment, including multiple barriers to growth-oriented Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs). However, young people are even more likely to suffer this scourge. According to official statistics, youth between the ages of 15-19 account for one-third of all unemployed Kenyans even though they constitute only 23% of 15-64 year olds. Annually, more than 240,000 students enter the labor force after graduating from primary schools while an additional 143,000 students enter the labor force after high school.

Honorable Vice President Moody Awori clearly supports this new partnership among the Kenya Ministry of State for Youth Affairs, Kenya Pipeline Company, TechnoServe Kenya, Lenovo and other leading institutions. His presence along with key drivers will truly help institutionalize the spirit of entrepreneurship across Kenya through this new catalyst, the Believe Begin Become Business Plan Competition.

About TechnoServe: TechnoServe helps entrepreneurial men and women in the developing world to build businesses that provide jobs, income and economic opportunity. Since its founding in 1968, the U.S.-based nonprofit has helped to create or improve more than 2,000 businesses, benefiting millions of people in 32 countries. TechnoServe is currently working to build and expand businesses in Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania, Kenya, Swaziland, Uganda, Ghana, Madagascar, Rwanda, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Peru, Colombia, Brazil, Côte d'Ivoire and India. TechnoServe has been recognized as one of the world's “Outstanding Social Entrepreneurs” by the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship.