Overcoming Financial Challenges with Environmental Entrepreneurship

May 15, 2023

Jacob is a 17-year-old living in Maralal, Samburu County, Kenya, with his guardian and six siblings. In March 2022, Jacob completed his primary school education, but dropped out because his guardian could not afford to enroll him in high school due to the financial burden of having three other children in high school.

However, Jacob did not give up easily. He joined the Youth Livelihood Programs’, Enterprise Challenge at his school, where learned about entrepreneurship and sharpened his business management skills. The program helped him to gain marketing skills, which he uses to sell the liquid soap and washing detergents. Additionally, he has learned to conserve the environment by recycling water bottles for packaging his products.

In April 2022, Jacob used his newly-acquired skills to start a detergent-making business with a capital of 750 Kenyan shillings. The business was aimed at supporting his guardian, who was struggling to provide basic needs and pay school fees for his three children in high school. Through the profits he made by selling liquid soap and jiko to the locals, Jacob was able to buy school uniforms, books, and pay part of his own school fees.

Thanks to the Enterprise Challenge, Jacob’s business has continued to grow, and he has gained confidence in himself, improved on his money saving skills, budgeting, marketing and negotiation skills. These qualities have greatly improved his relationship with his customers and expanded his business.

“My business saves the customers time since the products are readily accessible to them,” says Jacob, highlighting the convenience of his products. “What I found interesting in the Enterprise Challenge was how to advertise my products,” he adds, emphasizing the importance of marketing.

“The changes I have noticed in my life are how I am able to pay my school fees and provide for my family,” Jacob states, proudly. He encourages other young people to join the Enterprise Challenge program in order to expand their knowledge of the business world. Jacob’s determination and entrepreneurial spirit have not only helped him to overcome financial challenges, but have also provided a source of income for his family. His story is a testament to the transformative power of entrepreneurship and the importance of programs like the Enterprise Challenge in equipping young people with the skills they need to succeed in life.

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