Economy, News

How To Turn Covid-19 Frustrations Into Entrepreneurial Motivation

I was recent­ly hav­ing a busi­ness lunch when a lady seat­ed near me said with exas­per­a­tion, ‘If I hear the name Covid one more time, I will scream!’

While I under­stand her weari­ness with Covid, we must accept the real­i­ty that nobody knows if and when Covid will depart from our midst. As such, we must adopt accord­ing­ly. Such is the rea­son­ing that even­tu­al­ly informed the deci­sion by the Inter­na­tion­al Olympics Com­mit­tee (IOC) to pro­ceed with the just con­clud­ed Osa­ka Games . The same hap­pened with the ongo­ing World Under 20 cur­rent­ly ongo­ing in Nairo­bi. In order to min­i­mize the risk of Covid infec­tions, the games are held with­out live spec­ta­tors, a first for the Olympics and the IAAF event. Indeed, dif­fi­cult times call for deci­sive measures.

Here in Kenya, we need to bor­row a leaf from the IOC and IAAF and then take deci­sive mea­sures that will secure both our health and liveli­hoods. As was recent­ly expe­ri­enced after the post­pone­ment of the 7th Annu­al Devo­lu­tion Con­fer­ence, this is a very dif­fi­cult line to tread. In the after­math of this con­fer­ence’s post­pone­ment due to ris­ing Covid cas­es, the Low­er East­ern Hotels and Cater­ers Con­sor­tium report­ed­ly lost up to Shs52 mil­lion. In this par­tic­u­lar case, the late deci­sion to post­pone the event elbowed cater­ers and hote­liers from Makueni Coun­ty where the con­fer­ence was sup­posed to be held, into a deep finan­cial hole. A friend of mine had just bought six hun­dred chick­ens for his restau­rant at an exor­bi­tant pre­vail­ing mar­ket price and is now baf­fled and vulnerable.

As Covid rages, we don’t have to choose between good health and good busi­ness. If we are strate­gic and inno­v­a­tive, we can pro­ceed with our lives in a way that does­n’t com­pro­mise either our health or our liveli­hoods. Online plat­forms can be at the cen­tre of this desir­able new way of life. Just as mil­lions of peo­ple around the world watched the inter­na­tion­al games online, it is pos­si­ble for mil­lions of Kenyans to par­take in crit­i­cal meet­ings through online plat­forms. This is an exam­ple of a social and busi­ness solu­tion that safe­guards the coun­try’s econ­o­my while open­ing up new busi­ness oppor­tu­ni­ties. This approach is chang­ing the busi­ness land­scape around the world.

USA’s Cen­sus Bureau revealed that in 2020, Amer­i­cans scram­bled to start busi­ness­es. They filed paper­work to start 4.3 mil­lion busi­ness­es. This rep­re­sent­ed a 24 per­cent increase from 2019. This his­toric quest to start busi­ness­es was informed by the Covid pan­demic’s destruc­tion of for­mal employ­ment. Inter­est­ing­ly, this sce­nario has also been mir­rored here in Kenya. The Reg­is­trar of Com­pa­nies report­ed that Kenyans reg­is­tered 101,674 busi­ness names this year com­pared to 73,302 busi­ness names last year. This spike was trig­gered by the wide­spread Covid layoffs.

This is a gold­en oppor­tu­ni­ty for the Kenya Gov­ern­ment and Inter­na­tion­al investors to sup­port the thou­sands of start-ups that are mush­room­ing across the coun­try. Viewed through these lens­es, deci­sions like those that seek to can­cel meet­ings in the last minute will be approached more cre­ative­ly. In this regard, we should turn to our youth because they are the most dig­i­tal savvy demo­graph­ic in our nation. As cham­pi­ons of social media, they can play a much big­ger role in enabling both polit­i­cal and eco­nom­ic conversations.

As of Jan­u­ary 2021, there were 11 mil­lion social media users in Kenya. Just one year ear­li­er, there were 2.2 mil­lion few­er users in the coun­try. Mobile phone pen­e­tra­tion in Kenya is report­ed to be at 119.9%. Since our youth are the most avid users of phones and social media we should inte­grate them into aware­ness and sen­si­ti­za­tion cam­paigns of all major events. This will entrench them into the val­ue chain of these events, which will posi­tion them to earn more in the Covid economy.

How­ev­er, our youth must not wait for busi­ness­es to be hand­ed to them on a sil­ver plat­ter. It is up to them to seize the entre­pre­neur­ial oppor­tu­ni­ties that are hid­den in the Covid econ­o­my. This way the cur­rent frus­tra­tions will be turned into moti­va­tion not only to our enter­pris­es but the Gov­ern­ment as well.

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About Dr. Kalua Green

He is the Chief Stew­ard of Green Africa Group, a con­glom­er­ate that was envi­sioned in 1991 to con­nect, pro­duce and impact var­i­ous aspi­ra­tions of human­i­ty through Sus­tain­able Mobil­i­ty & Safe­ty Solu­tions, Eco­pre­neur­ship & Agribusi­ness, Ship­ping & Logis­tics, Envi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Ini­tia­tives, as well as Hos­pi­tal­i­ty & fur­nish­ings sectors

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1 Comment. Leave new

  • Permenus Nzuki
    August 23, 2021 7:46 am

    T his is a mas­ter­piece from Dr Kalua. If we find our­selves in a ditch we must start on how to get out…


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