Industrialist Manu Chandaria said that a lot of human resource is going to waste because many employers and companies are not willing to invest in new skills and expertise, but would rather invest in ideas that are only going to benefit them.
Chandaria made this assertion during the award ceremony of the Total Startupper challenge held in Nairobi where the top three finalists were awarded Sh5 million to invest in their business ideas.
“It is ironic that we then lament of huge unemployment rate yet we have the ability to change the situation,” Chandaria said.
According to him, since companies benefit from the market, they have a responsibility to change the economy by developing talents and investing in ideas.
“We have a highly skilled population that gets drowned in the informal sector, yet with a little push, they can be employers rather than be employees,” he added.
During the award ceremony, the overall winner, Samuel Wanderi of Safi Organics received Sh2.5 million; first runner-up Susan Kwamboka of JSIL Space Solutions got Sh1.5 million; while the second runner-up Kevin Mureithi of Eco Blocks and Tiles won Sh1m.
In all, forty individuals were shortlisted in Kenya in a challenge that attracted more than 800 submissions across 32 countries in Africa.
“This shows the huge potential Kenya and Africa have in terms of entrepreneurial abilities,” Total Managing Director Anne-Solange Renouard said.
Safi Organics deals with production of soil conditioner derived from farm waste; JSIL optimises space in constrained environments, while Eco Blocks handles production of ecofriendly, affordable and durable building products from discarded post consumer waste materials such as glass waste, industrial leftover fly ash and quarry dust.