Sinapis, GIZ (the German Agency of International Cooperation), and the European Union have wrapped up GoBlue NOW, a multiyear commitment offering business training to entrepreneurs in all six counties that comprise Kenya’s pristine coastline. At a recent graduation ceremony in Mombasa, Sinapis and its partners celebrated the outstanding work of all those involved in the initiative and awarded 184 certificates to local entrepreneurs completing Aspire Launchpad, the Entrepreneur Academy, modular classes, and workshops. The event brought the total number of participants trained through the partnership to 573, which is sure to create a tailwind for the region’s economic future.
Festivities at the celebration included remarks by Robert Wahome, Sinapis’ Coastal Program Manager; Henrik Schmidtke, GIZ Component Leader; Charles Ayako, Kenya’s Coastal Regional Director of the Department of Youth Affairs, Arts, and Sports; and several alumni. There was also a lively and insightful panel discussion by four local “blue” sector representatives — Julius Owino, CEO of the Kenya Coast Tourism Association (KCTA); Andrew Ochieng, Executive Officer, Kenya International Freight and Warehousing Association (KIFWA); Frankline Gitau, Operations Manager, Coast Region, Somo Africa; and Mercy Mukulu, Mombasa County Coordinator, Kenya Small Business Development Centers Program (KSBDC).
Topics ranged from innovative ways to harness the ocean through seaweed farming, eco-tourism, and cruise ship employment, to “open sky” advocacy for more direct flights daily to Mombasa, to the importance of small business participation in shaping public policy for the region. The challenge of affordable training for young entrepreneurs was also discussed. With youth unemployment rates in the Mombasa region estimated as high as 41%, implementing a skills-based vision for this age group is critical. Among GoBlue NOW participants, 65% were between the ages of 18 and 35, and 50% were women.
“I would like to thank Sinapis and their strategic partners for making the process about our young people … now they also have a future”
— Charles Ayako, Kenya’s Coastal Regional Director of the Department of Youth Affairs, Arts, and Sports
Though the partnership with GIZ and the EU has come to a conclusion, Sinapis plans to continue coastal classes in the coming months, beginning with another round of Aspire for early and idea-stage entrepreneurs. Sinapis also champions and provides ongoing support to the GoBlue NOW coastal alumni community through coaching, mentorships, networking, referrals, and Facebook and LinkedIn groups. Excitement and hope abound as each graduate starts to impact the “blue” region’s economic ecosystem and participates in community-building activities for the betterment of their neighbors.
“I can say through the training, I’ve learned a lot. It has enabled me to implement most of the learnings into my business”
— Hajj Idd, Founder of Harjey Hamsiq Footwear, Mombasa
Interested in learning more about Sinapis? Classes are launching soon! We offer training, advisory services, and ongoing community to equip entrepreneurs in emerging market economies to grow successful businesses that can create economic, social, and spiritual impact. The average growth in revenue for enterprises one year after founders graduate from a Sinapis class is 138%, and 69% of Sinapis graduates are still in business three years after graduation. You can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we’d love to hear from you!