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Transforming Unemployment in Kenya into Entrepreneurship

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For most people, losing a job can be a huge shock to the system. Apart from the immediate economic consequences of unemployment in Kenya, losing a job can often result in feelings of inadequacy and helplessness. Nowadays, many unemployed Kenyans are willing to settle for new jobs that pay significantly less than their previous jobs, or much lower down the career ladder, or sometimes jobs that aren’t related to their core skills in any way – whatever pays the bills.

As counter-intuitive as it might sound, sometimes losing a job is the best thing that can happen to you. It provides just the sort of jolt needed to spur you to take advantage of your work experience and educational background to pursue entrepreneurial opportunities.

Getting started with a new business is not easy and not every new start-up becomes a multi-million business. But with a little planning and market research, many unemployed Kenyans can start their own profitable business ventures and go as far as growing corporations. Here are four tips to transform from your unemployed status to an entrepreneur.

Getting started doesn’t always mean starting from scratch

Knowing where to start is often the biggest challenge, so it pays to explore all options. One option for unemployed Kenyans is to become independent contractors or consultants in their own fields. If this seems like too much, here are 32 business ideas you can start in Kenya without any capital

Companies that are downsizing because of the economy often need skilled manpower to keep their business running, but they often don’t have the necessary resources to employ full-time staff. By becoming an independent contractor, you can subcontract your services to multiple such companies, including the one that might have previously employed you.

People in the IT sector, engineering, construction, and healthcare are always in demand when it comes to contract jobs. If your skills are in other sectors, you might want to consider options such as opening a franchise outlet, where starting up involves little more than following a set of prepackaged business instructions.

Start a business that leverages your technical skills and work experience

Instead of working for someone else, you can use your skills to start and develop your own business. Many Kenyans have profited from doing the same thing they did while working full-time jobs.

By partnering with people with different skill sets, such as marketing and sales, it should be fairly easy to establish a well-rounded start-up. Often, such start-ups end up as suppliers and partners to bigger and more established companies.

Pursue a market need or a talent

Sometimes unemployment offers an opportunity for people to pursue their passion and talents. Many Kenyans have started flourishing businesses by pursuing ideas that they never had the time or courage to pursue. The ideas don’t have to be big. Some of the most successful businesses were built from the simplest of ideas.

Know where to find help

Small business groups and trade organizations can help unemployed people in Kenya get information, tools, and the help they need to start their own businesses. Several county governments in Kenya also offer help and information to youths looking to start their own businesses. Tapping into such organizations can help you launch your start-up faster than you would on your own.


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