Wote — In a bid to foster innovation and entrepreneurship among the youth, Makueni Governor Mutula Kilonzo Junior awarded grants to young innovators as part of the county’s Plug Mtaani Vijana2Invest initiative on Wednesday.
According to Kenya News Agency, Faith Mumo emerged as the overall winner of the county competition for her business idea at Ivani Farm in Kwa Kathoka, which involves the value addition to ripe mangoes by drying them to increase their shelf life from 5 days to 24 months. Mumo received a grant of Sh. 50,000 for her innovative approach. Joining her in commendation were John Mwendwa, who received Sh. 40,000, and Judy Mwende, who was awarded Sh. 30,000 for their contributions to health and nutrition innovation.
The event, held in Wote, also recognized five other youths, each receiving Sh. 30,000 for their innovative projects across various sectors including health, manufacturing, agribusiness, technology, and creative arts. Governor Mutula Kilonzo Junior expressed his satisfaction with the youth’s engagement in the initiative and reaffirmed his administration’s commitment to creating opportunities for young people to express their talents and abilities.
The governor also noted that Makueni’s own Makhood Entertainment, an offshoot of the Ajiry initiative, is set to perform the Plug Mtaani theme song at the national finals in Nairobi.
Geoffrey Kilonzo, the national coordinator of Plug Mtaani Vijana2Invest, praised Makueni county for its dedication to nurturing and supporting young entrepreneurs. He encouraged other counties to take similar actions by allocating budget funds for capacity building, grants, and capital for youth-led projects.
The Plug Mtaani Vijana2Invest initiative, which operates under the umbrella of the county’s department of trade, is a collaborative effort that includes partnerships with the national government, Keninvest, RADICO Kenya, ICST, and Crescent 360 Limited. This program aims to support the sustainable establishment and growth of youth-driven businesses.