The Governors Startup Challenge (GSC) is one of the program menus served up by the Mombasa based Youth Empowerment Program Initiative, popularly known by its acronym YEPI.
YEPI is a non-profit and youth led organization primarily
existing to empower young people from the coastal region as it seeks to address
the sticking challenges of unemployment, poverty and violent extremism.
Through its GSC component whose 2019 edition (the 2nd edition of GSC program) is currently underway, YEPI seeks to stimulate and promote youth led businesses that impact positively on the society. It brings together 10 select young and aspiring entrepreneurs to compete in designing and developing new entrepreneurial solutions to community challenges.
For instance this year’s 10 finalists were sieved from a
very competitive three month’s identification process that saw over 130
applicants from over 9 counties across Kenya express interest. So in other
words, the 10 are the big deal as far as promising, sustainable community centered
entrepreneurships are concerned.
The collective profile of this year’s finalists in terms of
their industry, county and gender representation is as dynamic as they come. The
peak of the GSC is the Boot Camp (on-going currently), a week-long, residential
knowledge transfer activity focusing on a business development regime in the
ways of entrepreneurship and innovation, peer to peer learning, networking,
collaborative sessions, discussions and mentoring.
The C in GSC stands for Challenge, the boot camp usually
culminates in a pitching competition where each finalist puts their best foot
forward to make a case for why their businesses or ideas are worth investing
in. The winning pitch(es) receive an equity funding prize award.
The boot camp sessions and its business development thought and
literature content. It’s an open secret
that many entrepreneurships collapse before they even begin due to a mix of
capacity and focus. And so participants are guided through design driven
startups, business modeling, smart financing options available for
entrepreneurships et cetera.
The heart of the GSC component as one of YEPI’s anchor programs is the concept of social entrepreneurship, such is that leadership, integrity and ethics also feature heavily on the in-class and mentorship experience.
The GSC program goes beyond the boot camp. For instance, after the camp each entrepreneur
is matched with a seasoned mentor to guide them in their business journey and
issues they face in their own communities.
The Governors Startup Challenge is not affiliated with any
political leaders or entities. The objective is, when young people are equipped
with the right skills and knowledge then they’re able to govern their businesses well.