“If things get worse and I can’t work, we will starve.”These stark words from a Kenyan housecleaner named Esther highlight the critical importance of employment to sustain families. Before the COVID-19 outbreak, the World Bank estimated 600 million jobs needed to be created by 2030 just to keep pace with population growth. Now it projects that COVID-19 will push 49 million people into extreme poverty this year alone. The UN’s World Food Programme believes that COVID-19 could force an additional 130 million people to the brink of starvation by the end of this year. They are calling it a ‘hunger pandemic’.One of the best and most sustainable ways to respond to this crisis is to invest in local entrepreneurs who drive economic growth and job creation.
It is estimated that more than 2 million households in Kenya employ domestic staff like housekeepers, cooks, nannies, guards, and gardeners. These jobs are desperately needed - especially now as more and more businesses are forced to let staff go.
Joseph Gichunge co-founded Jazza Centre with his wife, Leah, to meet the need for more qualified domestic help. Much of their business success is credited to how they train their workers to tailor the approach to the needs of each client.However, their impact on the community isn't just "how" they train but "who". The majority of workers at Jazza Centre are underprivileged women with challenging backgrounds. Early pregnancies. Broken marriages. Many are left with the sole responsibility to care for their children.
Over the past three years, Jazza Centre has given over 1,200 workers a new outlook on life by providing biblically-integrated training, good working conditions, and dependable income. And Sinapis has provided Joseph and Leah with a new outlook on how running a profitable business can be a way of being God's hands and feet in a community.
Small and Growing Businesses (SGBs) like Jazza Centre account for up to 80% of new job growth worldwide. They are the primary job creators in the hardest places. Yet a recent study by the Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE) projects that 42% of emerging market SGBs face potential failure in the next 6 months due to COVID-19. These countries have limited funding for safety nets to help businesses and families weather this storm. Sinapis was one of the first organizations in Africa to focus on accelerating businesses. From our earliest days, we have invested in the whole person — the intellectual, the spiritual, the relational. When we train an entrepreneur, we focus on nurturing the person first and then growing the company second. And we stick with them. Long after they have graduated from our programs, we continue to offer opportunities to partner with Sinapis and network with other alumni.Not only does this approach equip entrepreneurs to innovate and lead resilient companies, it makes them transformative leaders who spark change in their communities. Investing in people creates ripples of impact beyond one company. Right now the world needs prepared entrepreneurs more than ever. Companies that can sustain jobs. To see this happen, these entrepreneurs need training and mentorship to help them pivot their business models, preserve cash, and survive the crisis. While these needs have never been more acute, their ability to afford these services is under intense pressure.
Sinapis is launching a new program called the Crisis Crash Course - our response to COVID-19. It is a four-week, condensed version of our 16-week Entrepreneur Academy that will provide entrepreneurs with the most relevant content and tools they need to help their business survive the pandemic. For as little as $40, you can help equip a job creator. As these entrepreneurs apply what they learn, companies will be saved, jobs will be preserved, and vulnerable families will be protected.