Training youth in water resources enterprises and innovation
The WaterCap and UNDP-CapNet in conjunction with the Kenya Climate Innovation Center (KCIC) organized a three day training for youth in water resources, enterprise and innovation to serve as a platform for bringing together entrepreneurs from across the country and scaling up the scope and impact of their activities.
Training youth on challenges and opportunities in water
On the first day of the training, the participants were taken through a session on understanding the problems encountered in the water sector. This session aimed to explain the challenges in water and sanitation and progress towards sustainable development in the context of social and economic dynamics. The session also linked the future of water management to youthful ambitions, management, practices and technology.
The second day of the training delved into water technology, innovation and entrepreneurship. The moderator brought out the gaps in meeting water challenges and outlined current and emerging technologies. Since the adoption rate of most water technologies is not as fast as other technologies, it slows the rate at which water sanitation and hygiene concerns are addressed.
The third day of the training was facilitated by KCIC. The session aimed at exploring the unprecedented opportunities for youth entrepreneurship created by technology, innovation and the existing water challenges. Ernest Chitechi, Corporate Services Manager at KCIC, emphasized on the importance of creating opportunities for the youth in water through entrepreneurship, mentorship, skills development and partnerships.
“Some of the fundamentals on what it takes to be an entrepreneur includes validating a vision, building a differentiated product, creating partnerships with customers, negotiating venture funding and attracting a dedicated team,” said Ernest.
How youth can succeed in water entrepreneurship
Youth who are keen on thriving in water entrepreneurship need to dedicate themselves in business and discover what other entrepreneurs are doing. Youth tend to focus more on why a startup will not make it than believing and working towards making it work.
He noted that building a differentiated product will make you stand out as opposed to replicating what is already in the market. Surrounding oneself with motivated individuals plays a great role in building the business as well as being flexible and prepared to improvise, adapt and overcome.
Incubators play a huge role in creating and growing young businesses by providing them with necessary support- key among them being financial and technical services- through providing a safe avenue to capital from angel investors, governments, development organizations and other investors.
The training was attended by a cross section of participants including youth waterpreneurs, water business companies, innovators and students, among others. It was aimed at providing a platform for the youth to discuss thematic and policy issues with experts and follow-up action with mentorship by established business leaders.
By Mercy Mumo