Having spent a few weeks at home in Nairobi, Kenya; having seen all the potential and opportunities for handicraft enterprises and; having seen that the opportunities are primarily exploited by foreigners, I can't be happier to share news of Craft Afrika's new business incubation program.
Don't get me wrong – I have nothing against foreigners and their contributions to our economy, providing employment and so on. However, I do have a problem with the fact that Kenyans are so invisible in the handicraft industry, except as labourers. This is our country – why aren't we more actively involved in representing and expressing the unique innovation and beauty that it inspires – and that we possess? Is it that we are not interested? Or is it that we do not have access to the exposure, knowledge and resources to create successful and sustainable (financially, socially and environmentally) businesses?
Craft Afrika is stepping up to the plate, with partners Cape Craft Design Institute of South Africa and the global Kiva network. On January 16th, i.e. in one week, they will be launching a pilot 6-month intensive program that will train 15 participants in business, mentoring, market access services and capital investment in their businesses. The aim is to provide creative entrepreneurship training that meets international standards and help to propel the industry to being the top GDP earner that it has the potential to be. I applaud this advocacy from Craft Afrika and cannot wait to hear more about how the incubation program progresses.
For more information, check out the Incubation Program's press release or get in touch with Craft Afrika via their blog, Facebook or Twitter. Or visit them in Nairobi at The GrowthHub, Cape Office Park, Ring Road, Kilimani.
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