Home Awards & Recognition e-Biz Kwa Vijana Empowers Over 2,000 Youths, Drives E-commerce Growth in Kenya

e-Biz Kwa Vijana Empowers Over 2,000 Youths, Drives E-commerce Growth in Kenya

248 learners attended physical training sessions, with a 77 percent representation by women highlighting BrighterMonday’s commitment to gender inclusivity in the digital space

by Kwabe Ben
e-Biz Kwa Vijana

The e-Biz Kwa Vijana project has proven to be an impactful and ground-breaking e-commerce development initiative, considering the immense effect it has had on over 2,000 young entrepreneurs and Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) who attended it.

E-Biz Kwa Vijana initiative in its first phase launched in 2023 was aimed at building capacity of up to 1,000 young entrepreneurs aged between 18-35 years, on how to leverage their businesses on online trading and digital platforms.

The e-Biz Kwa Vijana project, co-funded by USAID and implemented by BrighterMonday Kenya, young entrepreneurs are to be empowered through e-commerce training and inclusive initiatives.

Notably, the initiative successfully on-boarded 632 MSMEs onto various e-commerce platforms to help them venture into the next phase of their business growth and opportunity journey. The initiative based on testimonials by attendees has led to an increment of MSMEs adopting online presence by 95%, with a recorded 90% sales surge, and 30% acquiring more employees.

One of the beneficiaries Lilian Wairimu Co-Founder of Jegos Enterprise revealed that her business has seen up to 50% growth in sales of their protective and safety gear. She added that the online presence and business models taught to her were highly practical and rewarding contributing to her significant success online.

E-Biz Kwa Vijana

Chris Otundo, Chief Executive Officer BrighterMonday Kenya makes his remarks during the E-Biz Kwa Vijana Close Out Event

According to Chris Otundo, Chief Executive Officer of BrighterMonday, the MSMEs who turn up for enrolment in numbers is commendable as it shows a desire to learn more about their businesses and grow in the space hence with an online presence and offer hands-on digital skills they are empowered.

“The strong entrepreneurial spirit in young people of Kenya today is more than admirable. This is the reason BrighterMonday always seeks talent because we believe in the potential of MSMEs,” said Chris Otundo.

Among the key achievements of the project, was a 45 percent attendance rate by women out of the 2,093 online learners in the E-Biz Kwa Vijana project, including 62 with disabilities, thus ensuring that all individuals, regardless of physical ability, have the opportunity to acquire valuable digital skills.

In addition to the online training, 248 learners attended physical training sessions, with a 77 percent representation by women highlighting BrighterMonday’s commitment to gender inclusivity in the digital space.

David Rogers USAID Deputy Director of Economic, Integration and Growth Department, pointed out that the greatest achievement witnessed in the initiative is the 30%, 50%, to 60% impact reach on the beneficiaries.

e-Biz Kwa Vijana

David Rodgers, Deputy Office Director, Office of Economic Growth and Integration (OEGI) at USAID

Emphasizing that the project to get young entrepreneurs these digital skills is a futuristic stride as they enable sustainable prosperity considering the technological advancements of our century.

e-Biz Kwa Vijana led by BrighterMonday Kenya with funding from USAID through the e-Trade Alliance, and partners like Jiji, Pigiame, Kilimall, Safaricom, Google, Somo Africa, KCB Foundation, and Government departments like the State Department of Trade, State Department of ICT, Youth Affairs among others.

Michael Mandu, the Acting Secretary for Trade who represented the Principal Secretary of, the State Department for Trade noted the steady growth of the E-Commerce sector in Kenya with Kenya established as a leader in digital trade within the African continent and globally.

“The combined revenues from the sector were projected to grow to USD2,928.00 bn in 2023 with a large share of this revenue being accounted for by the Small and Medium Enterprises as well as youth enterprises. This has contributed to job creation and employment opportunities for young people while also nurturing digital talents in the country”, Said Mandu.

Michael Mandu, the Acting Secretary for Trade, State Department for Trade makes his remarks during the E-Biz Kwa Vijana Close Out Event

How Can the MSMEs Be Safeguarded by Policies?

During the event participants reviewed the Kenya National E-Commerce Strategy launched in December 2023, as well as the recent tax proposals contained in the Finance Bill 2024 which they said could have multifaceted effects on E-commerce accessibility and transparency in the country.

In recognition and acknowledgment of the immense potential and power of E-Commerce to revolutionize the local entrepreneurial landscape by equipping young people with the necessary knowledge and tools to expand their market opportunities, they need to be steered, supported, and nurtured.

Among the proposals include a proposed shift from the 1.5 percent Digital Service Tax to a 6 percent Significant Economic Presence (SEP) Tax, which E-Commerce players said could significantly impact the profitability and operational costs of E-Commerce platforms.

This was the same regarding the 20 percent Withholding Tax for non-residents and 5% for residents in the E-Commerce space which stakeholders said may present compliance challenges for small sellers, potentially hindering their participation in marketplaces.

e-Biz Kwa Vijana

Celebrating the successful conclusion of the E-Biz Kwa Vijana E-Commerce Upskilling project for young entrepreneurs and MSMEs. From the Left is Sylvia Mbaabu, Partnerships Lead, Brighter Monday Kenya, Michael Mandu, the Acting Secretary for Trade, State Department for Trade and Lilian Wairimu, Co-Director, Jegos Enterprises an E-Biz Kwa Vijana Beneficiary. From right is David Rodgers, Deputy Office Director, Office of Economic Growth and Integration (OEGI) at USAID, Chris Otundo, Chief Executive Officer BrighterMonday Kenya and Victor Waliaula, Founder and Owner, Jekins Computer Solutions, also an E-Biz Kwa Vijana Beneficiary.

“As stakeholders, we call for continuous engagement, knowledge-sharing, and collaboration with government and the relevant departments to address these concerns as the e-commerce ecosystem’s growth shall depend largely on how businesses and particularly young entrepreneurs adapt to the changing tax landscape” ” said Otundo

Similar sentiments were expressed regarding the proposed Data Protection Act amendment that seeks to exempt personal data disclosure for tax purposes, and which has raised consumer privacy concerns. Others include changes in Excise Duty, Eco Levy, and the motor vehicle tax which portend a rise in costs for goods with E-commerce platforms facing tighter margins while prompting reduced spending.

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