Optiven in Sh2.5 million drive to create over 1 million jobs by 2035

The Optiven Group Foundation, through its OptinInvest programme, has announced plans seeking to create more than 1 million jobs by 2035. Optiven CEO George Wachiuri said the move would cost the firm over Sh2.5 million, an amount that would double systematically year by year until the end of the programme.

He said the firm decided to give out 5 per cent of its total profits back to the society where they will be supporting over one million entrepreneurs. Washiuri said the move was arrived at after the recent data from the World Bank revealed that 75 per cent of total Kenyan population comprise of youths out if which 40 per cent are unemployed.

“We will be supporting the 40 shortlisted entrepreneurs for the first phase and would give them access to Wi-Fi to ensure they create more employment opportunities for the less fortunate,” Wachiuri said.

Briefing the press in Nairobi this morning, he confirmed that the firm has formed a panel of five judges who will determine which 40 entrepreneurs will benefit from the programme based on their proposals.

“Already, we have received over 2,000 proposals but we urge youths to submit more special and super proposals which can help us achieve our goals,” he said.

Data reveals that in 2005/06, youth aged 15-19 and 20-24 years had an unemployment rate of 25 per cent and 24 per cent respectively.

As such, Wachiuri has called on other stakeholders to complement government efforts of creating more jobs for the country’s youth.

“Today we are making drops. We call other stakeholders to joinhands in this journey as we try to kick out unemployment, creation of wealth among our young people,” he said.

Cabnet Secretary for Youth and Gender Affairs Sicily Kariuki said in a past briefing that in order to tackle Kenya’s high youth unemployment, the private sector, academia and government must work together to develop innovative business models, industry-relevant curricula and enabling national policies. Kariuki was speaking at an event dubbed Building Future Markets, an affair that brought together leaders from business, education and government to explore the private sector’s successes, challenges and potential to address Kenya’s youth unemployment.

“The challenge of youth unemployment is compounded by the fact that 90% of all unemployed young people lack vocational skills, said Kariuki in her address.

“Addressing youth unemployment therefore calls for innovation, investment and commitment among all stakeholders,” she added.

Optiven’s initiative comes at time when an estimated 800,000 young Kenyans enter the labour market every year. It also comes at a time when 80 per cent of unemployed Kenyans are below 35 years of age.

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