• June 18, 2024
  • Last Update June 18, 2024 2:12 PM
  • Nairobi

Tackling Youth Unemployment: The Story of Mary Wanjohi, a Young Entrepreneur in Nakuru

Tackling Youth Unemployment: The Story of Mary Wanjohi, a Young Entrepreneur in Nakuru

Nakuru

Thursday May 30, 2024

KNA by Frankline Mugambi

Youth unemployment remains a pressing issue in many parts of the world, including Kenya.

However, amidst the challenges, stories of resilience and innovation emerge, offering inspiration and practical solutions.

One such story is that of Mary Wanjohi, a 21-year-old greengrocer in Nakuru town, whose journey provides valuable insights into how young people can overcome unemployment.Sitting in her small but bustling grocery shop in Nakuru town, Mary Wanjohi shares her story with a mixture of pride and humility.

“After finishing secondary school, I was really worried about my future. There were no jobs, and I didn’t want to be a burden on my parents,” she began.

“I knew I had to find a way to support myself.”With no formal job opportunities in sight, Wanjohi decided to take matters into her own hands.

Leveraging a small loan from a local microfinance institution, she started a modest greengrocery business.

“Getting that loan was a turning point for me,” Wanjohi recalls.

“It wasn’t much, but it was enough to buy my first stock of vegetables and fruits.”Wanjohi’s initial days were filled with challenges.

“The market here is very competitive, and I had limited capital and no business experience,” she explains.

However, her determination and innovative approach helped her overcome these obstacles.

“I decided to source fresh produce directly from local farmers. This ensured that I had the best quality at affordable prices, which quickly attracted customers.”Her emphasis on customer satisfaction and ability to adapt to market demands played a crucial role in her success.

“Listening to my customers and providing what they need has been key,” Wanjohi said. “I also learned to manage my finances better and reinvest in my business.”

Wanjohi’s journey offers several key lessons for addressing youth unemployment.

“Entrepreneurship training and support are crucial. I was lucky to get some guidance from a local mentor who taught me the basics of running a business. More young people need access to such mentorship and training,” she asserted.

Lack of sufficient capital is also a significant barrier to entrepreneurship for young people.

“Without that initial loan, I wouldn’t have been able to start my business,” reflected the mother of two, adding, “We need more initiatives that offer microloans and grants specifically to young entrepreneurs.”

Wanjohi also emphasises the importance of aligning education with market demands.

“I learned a lot from practical experience, but if there were more vocational training programmes tailored to local market needs, it would really help,” she said.

“Young people need to be equipped with the right skills to be employable or start their own ventures.”

Mary’s ability to manage her business effectively was partly due to the practical skills she acquired outside the traditional educational framework.

“I picked up a lot from watching others and learning on the job,” she said.

“But it would be great if these skills could be taught in schools and colleges.”Creating linkages between young entrepreneurs and markets is essential, according to Mary.

“Establishing direct connections with local farmers was crucial for my business,” she explained.

“It ensured a steady supply of quality produce, which kept my customers happy. Similar linkages in other sectors could support more young entrepreneurs.

”Support from the community has been another critical factor in Mary’s success.

“The local farmers I work with and my loyal customers have been amazing,” she said.

“Their support means everything to me. We need more community-based initiatives like local business networks and cooperatives to provide a support system for young entrepreneurs.”

Mary also highlights the role that government and local authorities can play.

“Reducing bureaucratic hurdles, providing tax incentives, and developing infrastructure to support small businesses are all important,” she asserts. “A supportive environment makes a big difference.

”While entrepreneurship is a powerful tool to combat youth unemployment, Mary acknowledges it is not the only solution. “We need a multifaceted approach,” she said.

“Expanding formal employment opportunities, creating apprenticeship programmes, and promoting innovation and technology are all crucial.”Efforts should be made to attract investments that create jobs in various sectors, including manufacturing, technology, and services.

“If there were more jobs available, it would reduce the pressure on young people to start their own businesses out of necessity,” Mary notes.

“Apprenticeship programs, like those in partnership with industries, can provide hands-on experience and a pathway to formal employment.” Promoting innovation and the use of technology can also open new avenues for employment.

“Digital platforms offer opportunities for freelance work and remote employment,” Mary said.

“Young people need to be encouraged to think innovatively and use technology to their advantage.”

Mary Wanjohi’s story is a testament to the resilience and potential of young people when given the right opportunities and support.

Her journey from unemployment to becoming a successful greengrocer in Nakuru town provides a blueprint for addressing youth unemployment.

“I hope my story inspires other young people to take bold steps towards their own goals,” she said.

“We can overcome these challenges with determination, support, and the right opportunities.” As we look to the future, Mary’s story is a symbol of what is possible for many other young people facing similar challenges.

Her success is not just her own; it is a shining example of what can be achieved with hard work, innovation, and a supportive community.

“I believe in the potential of our youth,” Mary concludes. “With the right support, we can transform our lives and contribute to the growth of our communities and our country.”

Courtesy; KNA

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *