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2019 Governors Startup Challenge in Numbers.

Youth Empowerment Program Initiative (YEPI), a youth-led organization from Mombasa, has received a record number of 132 applications for the second edition of the Governors Startup Challenge (GSC) from 5 counties across the coast region of Kenya and beyond.

Held annually, the Governors Startup Challenge is a flagship program of YEPI which brings together 10 best and brightest entrepreneurs, aged 18-35 from across the Coast Region of Kenya to compete and design new solutions to community challenges. GSC is working to accelerate a shift towards an entrepreneurship society hence tackling poverty, creating jobs and preventing and countering violent extremism in the Coast. Through this innovative entrepreneurial ecosystem hub, YEPI helps young entrepreneurs to learn, design and earn by building sustainable businesses while at the same time developing new solutions to community challenges.

National Reach

Regardless of the county or origin of the applicants – men or women, in business or just an idea – youth showed strong interest in the 2019 Governors Startup Challenge recording an 83% increase in the applications compared to last year. YEPI received applications from Nairobi and other counties too. Men submitted the most applications (65%) compared to women (35%). Mombasa County recorded the highest number of applicants with 49% followed by Kilifi County at 15%. Kwale 10%, Taita Taveta 7.5%, Lamu 1.5% and others counties 17%. There was no representation from Tana River County.

Topics of Interest

The most popular project theme, with 24% applications was Environment. 23% focused on Educational development. 11% youth proposed activities to fostering the opportunities in the Blue Economy, 10% youth seek to advance Health, 8% Agri business, 7% Technology and Innovation, 5% Art, Fashion and Creativity and others 12%.

In the coming weeks, YEPI and Partners will review and evaluate these applications, and select 10 most promising, innovative and locally led startup that are making significant contributions to mitigating or solving community challenges through their social enterprises. The selected entrepreneurs will travel to Diani from 20 – 27th July to participate in a 7-day boot camp of intensive business development program including; entrepreneurship and innovation, peer to peer learning, networking, collaborative session, panel discussions and mentoring session. The Boot camp culminate in a live pitch competition before a panel of expert judges, to decide who will receive equity funding of KES 100,000 to help them launch or scale their businesses that highlight profitability, social impact and sustainability.

The Winner(s) will be awarded during the 4th Annual YEPI Entrepreneurship Summit (YES) on Saturday February, 8th 2020. Follow #GSC2019, @YepiYouth and @YEPI_GSC on social media for updates. Thanks to our great partners and YEPI Community for making our second year competition such a success!