Kawaka Youth Group; united we stand
Kawaka Youth Group started as a self help group in 2010 with 16 members. The group’s membership consists of young entrepreneurs operating individual businesses within the Gikomba area in Nakuru County. Initially, the members came together to make monthly contribution for their own welfare needs, but as time went by they realized that they could do much more than just contribute. Out of sharing experiences, members appreciated that doing individual business in a crowded market with traders doing similar businesses was not easy. The competition was too stiff and the profit margins too little to enable them upgrade or even diverse in business. It was equally not easy to get loans as individuals from Financial Institutions due to little or no collateral.
According to the Chairman of the Youth Group, Mr. Daniel Kahiga, it was while they were contemplating on what to do that a member heard on radio an officer from the Youth Enterprise Development Fund calling upon young entrepreneurs of below 35 years old to take up loans and do business.
The group visited the office of the District Youth Officer where they were given more information about Youth Fund products and services. They gave him their business proposal and were advised on how to apply for the C-YES loan. They received their loan of KES. 50,000 in June 2011 and immediately opened a mal imali shop (assorted household goods). Their business is currently doing well because there is no other similar business within the Gikomba area of Nakuru County.
The group has started paying off their loan at KES.4,200 per month and are planning to take up another one once they finish. With the money they hope to increase their stock and expand business to include poultry keeping and rabbit rearing.
On behalf of the group, Mr. Kahiga sincerely thanks the Youth Enterprise Development Fund for the products and services they continue to offer to young entrepreneurs because they are friendly and easy to access. He equally appreciates the continuous training on entrepreneurship provided to help young entrepreneurs gain skills in business.
Mr. Kahiga further adds that members do not regret having come together to form the group. It has now become easier for members to access individual Youth Fund loans from Financial Institutions with the group being each other’s guarantor. New members who did not have individual businesses have accessed these loans and started their own business such as MPESA services, furniture, selling second hand clothes among others.
Mr. Kahiga is now urging other young people to wake up and take advantage of opportunities being offered by the government as well as other private institutions and do business. “Conventional employment is not the only way to make a living. Open and honest business can also lead to self financial sustainability” he says.