Hand in Hand Youth Award winners visit Sweden

01 Jun 2016

When Nelson Mureithi started farming eco-resilient trees, the 17-year-old from Mumbuini, Kenya never expected his business would take him outside his home county – much less 4,000 miles away to the shores of northern Europe.

But sure enough, Nelson was among the winners of Hand in Hand Eastern Africa’s inaugural Youth Award, who visited Sweden in May. The four winners, aged 15 to 19, met with local students and attended the Young Enterprise Trade Fair in Stockholm to swap business ideas with Sweden’s most promising young entrepreneurs.

Both the awards and the winners’ trip were generously sponsored by the Swedish Postcode Lottery. The competition is part of a three-year, US $1 million program designed to train 7,000 young Kenyans in entrepreneurship in after-school clubs.

Here, in brief, are the winners’ stories.

Solo Hayes Frank

Solo Hayes Frank | 15 years old | Pharmaceutical sales

Prescription drugs aren’t always easy to come by in Kenya. Trips to numerous pharmacies are almost guaranteed – but not if Solo gets his way. Although he’s still in school, Solo envisions an online system that keeps track of which pharmacies have which drugs in stock. Hand in Hand is working to help him realise his vision.

Francis Zachariah Mundia

Francis Mundia | 17 years old | Egg seller

Francis buys eggs from a local farm and sells them at a small margin. So far, so normal. But where his competitors are beholden to setting up stands at the local market, Francis has taken his business digital: customers visit his Facebook page and place orders online before Francis delivers them to their homes.

Nelson Mureithi

Nelson Mureithi | 17 years old | Eco-resilient-tree farmer

Sustainability and eco-resilience are more than just buzzwords; they’re a vital component of any agricultural strategy. That’s why Nelson has had such success growing and selling seedlings for multiple varieties of eco-resilient tree, counting some of the biggest farms in his area among his customers.

Evelyn Kinyua

Evelyn Kinyua | 19 years old | Dove breeder

Doves, in Kenya, are a versatile product. Some of Evelyn’s customers eat them, but most keep them as pets, particularly during school holidays. Evelyn decided to breed doves when she realised most of her neighbours rear chickens. In a crowded market, standing out pays off.