When university students are in their final year of study, they are mostly troubled by the direction they will take upon completion of their higher education. The end of the 8-4-4 system for them means end to many things including dependance on HELB to some extend financial assistance from their parents or guardians. As they pack their suitcases ready to leave the university compound for the last time, they are thrilled to have finally reached the end of the Kenyan Education system but also scared at the same time at the prospects of life out of campus.
With skyrocketing unemployment rate in Kenya and an ecosystem that does not fully support innovations and entrepreneurial ideas, these final year students are caught between a rock and a hard place with respect to the direction their life after campus will take.
It’s evident that students in Kenyan Universities have innovative ideas that need a little push and support from relevant institutions, mentorship opportunities and investment opportunities to get them out of what I can call the “Uncertainty zone” and into self sustaining businesses. If you doubt this, visit iBizAfrica in Strathmore University, C4D Lab at the University of Nairobi, iHub, NaiLab, LakeHub in Kisumu and any other incubation hub in the nation.
When the outgoing Egerton University Vice Chancellor Prof James Tuitoek introduced the Students Leadership Development Program (SLDP) at Egerton University, many students were enthusiastic of the idea. The students were hopeful that finally, the university had made a step towards supporting their innovations financially. The Ksh. 300,000 set a side for every approved innovative idea would have gone a long way in making these students transform their innovative ideas into self-sustaining businesses. One that they could look up to upon completion of their studies.
Though very little activity has been ongoing with the SLDP project, things have started looking up. First, this week, SLDP in conjunction with Unilever Kenya will be having a Career Building and Employability thruogh Professionalism and Entrepreneurship event on Friday 14th August 2015 targeting students currently in session at Njoro. These are majorly finalists. Among the notable guests invited to the day-long function that will commence at 9:00am is the Vice Chancellor himself, all his Deputies, other Key individuals in the university management, Key Accounts Manager at Bamburi Cement David Mulwa Mutua who is also an Egerton University Alumni and a Director from Unilever. The event will be moderated by Magazine Reel and SLDP.
While these final year students might not enjoy other lined up activities by the Students Leadership Development Program, the Friday event will present them with an excellent opportunity to interact with not only recruiters in the job market but also entrepreneurs who decided to start small and carry on with resilience and determination to succeed in their entrepreneurial activities.
From this forum, the students will be expected to come out with an open mind especially in regard to job hunting and entrepreneurship. The pool of experts and entrepreneurs at the forum will equip the students with interview skills, job hunting skills, entrepreneurial skills among others. This will be a golden opportunity for the students to make up their minds with regards to the path they want to follow and ready themselves for life after campus.
This event will be the first in a series of activities that we can only hope for a revamped and re-energized Students Leadership Development Program to facilitate at Egerton university in an effort of making Egerton not only an institution that produces qualified and unrivaled employees in the job market but also position the institution as a hub for entrepreneurship.
In the aftermath of the Global Entrepreneurship Summit, it will take institutions of higher learning to enforce and support the spirit of entrepreneurship among students. Vision 2030 can only materialize if students with entrepreneurial ideas are given the support they need in terms of mentorship and seed capital to realize the potential in their ideas. This, together with training of highly qualified graduates released into the job market will position Kenya in a vantage position towards achieving Vision 2030.