Kenyan youths have been asked to identify a niche in trade, use the internet and tap into innovative opportunities to spur their entrepreneurial ideas.

The call comes even as the government expands its focus on youth empowerment, with loaning and empowerment policies focusing on young people.

“Our focus as a department is to see to it that we bring on board as many stakeholders to ensure that our youth are trained to take up opportunities available in the world,” said County Chief Officer for Youth Affairs and Sports, Jelagat Tirop.

She was speaking during a youth sensitization and training program in Racecourse Ward. Tuesday’s program is among the 13 others that are in the pipeline. Youth empowerment is one of the development pillars of Uasin Gishu Governor Dr Jonathan Bii, EGH.

“This is a program that is a brainchild of the legislature and the executive working to try to help youth go around the challenges that include unemployment,” Member of County Assembly for Racecourse Ward, Amos Kiptanui, said at the event. His peer for Tarakwa Ward, Thomas Yego, corroborated these sentiments.

“It is a program that brings on board expertise and trainers from different fields, so we can offer an alternative for our youth so as they await employment, they can sustain and empower themselves through business,” added Kiptanui.

The Department of Youth Affairs, Members of County Assemblies and other stakeholders are organizing 12 more sensitization and training forums in Wards.

Kesses Sub-County Deputy County Commissioner, Lillian Lagat, said: “There are challenges. How to benefit from programs like affordable housing program, and government loans are among the strengths that (youth) can tap into.”

“Together with area Members of County Assembly, we are tailoring training programs and going right to the grassroots to equip our youth with the necessary knowledge that will help them navigate the challenges of life,” Director of Youth Affairs, Meshack Chemwor, said. Almost similar sentiments were shared by his Social Services counterpart, Peter Ruto.

Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s Uasin Gishu chapter chair, Willy Kenei, said the organization is ready to open up business opportunities through training for the youth. Kenei gave an example of a toothpick processing machine that goes for as little as Ksh 100,000.

Kenya exports bamboo to China and imports value-added products as finished products in the form of toothpicks. This, Mr Kenei said, is a business that can be explored by youth.

The youth were trained on (Youth) Access to Government Procurement Opportunities (AGPO) and the requirements of this scheme, advantages of technical and vocational skills, loans for businesses, and alcohol and substance abuse, among others.

Marie Stopes, Youth Enterprise Development Fund, and Sergoek Vocational College were among the partners for the event.