Equity Bank Kenya has launched a dedicated online campaign to provide support for youthful entrepreneurs aspiring to make their mark in various creative fields. The campaign will target youth between the ages of 18-30 years.
Within the Vijana na Equity scope, the first campaign seeks to support fledging fashion designers to attain their dreams while enjoying commercial returns.
Speaking when he confirmed the launch of the Vijana na Equity online initiative, Equity Bank Group CEO and Managing Director, Dr. James Mwangi said the programme will be actively pushed through social media channels as part of the Bank’s attempt to reach out to a wider youthful audience.
The Bank, Dr. Mwangi confirmed, is committed to providing a growth space for the youth to enable them unlock their potential. “Our goal is to seek-out, harness and develop real talent among our youth. We want to walk with the youth as they tap into their talent and transform it into viable income earning endeavors that will empower them,” he said.
Vijana na Equity initiative, he said will be headlined by the launch of a pilot project branded as “Design Your Destiny” targeting upcoming fashion designers.“Through the Vijana na Equity initiative, we are setting off on a journey to nurture the youth and transform their dreams to be entrepreneurs in the creative scene, to a reality,” Dr. Mwangi said. “This fits in with Equity Bank’s purpose to transform lives by maximizing opportunities for our existing and prospective clients,” he added.
With the launch of Design your Destiny, Equity Bank has embarked on a campaign to identify and mentor upcoming fashion designers in Kenya. The campaign will see members of the public engaging with Equity through online platforms for the selection criteria that will identify the top 40 most promising fashion designers. The finalists will take part in financial literacy workshop organized by the Bank where the top five will also walk away with cash prizes. There will also be opportunities for established fashion houses to provide internship and mentorship to the most promising fashion designers who will be identified through the online campaign
The campaign, had scheduled designers to submit their designs for a period of three weeks up to 24th November 2014. Due to demand by upcoming designers to be given time to prepare their best designs for submission, the Bank has extended the submission period to 15th December 2014 after which the judges will select the best 40 who will go through a public voting process online.
The contestants with the most cumulative points after the public voting online and a judges’ challenge during the financial management training will become the ultimate winner. Cash prizes will be awarded to the overall five winners will walk away with cash prizes as capital to boost their projects. The Winner will receive Ksh150, 000, Runners-up Ksh100, 000, third Ksh75, 000, while the fourth overall gets Ksh50,000 as then fifth project will pocket Ksh30, 000.
Apart from this, Equity bank has been offering other youth related renowned programmes that include Wings to Fly through its Equity Group Foundation to offer a positive future to bright yet poor and vulnerable students across the country with mentorship curriculum through the Equity Africa Leaders Programme as well.
Equity Bank believes in the enormous potential of young people to pursue and realize their dreams, and to play a key role in national development. Since 1998, Equity Bank has been sponsoring the top boy and top girl in Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education exams in each sub-county where Equity Bank has a branch, for university education, through the Equity Africa Leaders Program. To date, more than 2,000 scholars have gone through this program and over 200 are attending or are alumni of leading global universities such as Harvard, Stanford, London School of Economics and the prestigious MIT for technology based careers among others. Some of the beneficiaries so far been offered career opportunities at the bank upon graduating and thus completing the full cycle of “Wings to fly” initiative..
The Wings to Fly scholarship and leadership program is implemented by Equity Group Foundation and Equity Bank, in partnership with The MasterCard Foundation with support from USAID, UKaid and KfW. The program has so far benefited 10,000 academically gifted scholars from financially challenged backgrounds.
The Financial Knowledge for Africa (FiKA) is another financial education related program implemented by Equity Group Foundation in partnership with The MasterCard Foundation. The training targets youth and women and equips them with knowledge; skills and attitudes to better manage their finances access online transactions knowhow and thereby grow their businesses on a strong financial foundation. FiKA gives beneficiaries a pathway to greater financial access by offering financial literacy training and saving culture and loans services as well as providing financial advisory services to help develop, strengthen and grow participants’ across the enterprise.
Vijana Biashara Loans, a most sort after youth enterprising programme collaboration by Equity bank and the Youth Enterprise Development Fund where the bank has been a disbursing partner of the latter’s funds to youth. The Bank committed to match the amount allocated by the government for disbursement of the loans which are designed to help people below 35 years of age with access to capital, to scale their businesses from start-up to micro enterprises.
The loans given to individuals within a registered youth group (Youth Enterprise Club), are tailor-made to meet specific needs of young people in business. Equity Bank has been a disbursing agent to the Youth, through the Vijana Biashara loans product that was rolled out in 2007. To date loans worth Ksh11, 521,152,903 have been disbursed to 242,303 young people in 2,843 clubs.