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Y-BOSS : Youth self-sustaining business opportunities

Support and growth of individual/group youth micro-business in slums, through business acumen training, mentoring, incubation and loaning.

Photo of Eve Nicole

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Youth in slums have a host of ideas ranging from artistic skills and talents in performing arts, media, and other potentially income earning ventures of interest to them. However, they lack space, resources and mentorship to incubate and further actualize their ideas. Our idea therefore, responds to these needs through provision of training of needed business acumenship including management skills, space for business incubation, start-up resources in terms of loaning and continuous monitoring towards sustainability. Our existing savings and loaning platform, Mashinani social enterprise program (MSEP), will be key in ensuring trained youth between 15-35 years are registered as members to enable them work, save and borrow to grow and ultimately scale their businesses and employ others. Additionally, business training programs, interviews, focus group discussions will be broadcast through our existing community radio station Ghetto FM, which is quite popular with youth. In Kenya like many African countries, there is an alarming equal number of unemployed educated and non-schooled youths who reside in slums due to financial constraints where their daily meager wages cannot afford them descent shelter. Also, slum youths are a voting block kept by politicians to use and dump after every election year. Therefore by engaging them, we intend to influence paradigm shift from dependent, idle young people, into creators, incubators, mentors and employers with sustainable businesses.


Program beneficiaries are youth living in our organization's target slum areas, namely; Kibera, Mukuru Kwa Njenga and Pumwani-Majengo, aged between 15-35 years, both educated & uneducated, across genders. Business & vocational training, followed by mentorship will benefit disadvantaged youth regardless of their background, encourage innovation & cultivate resilience, create employment opportunities for other youth, giving them a sense of meaning and belonging, & reduce youth engagement in crime.


SIDAREC is based in Nairobi Kenya and operates in three large slums namely; Mukuru Kwa Njenga, Kibera and Pumwani-Majengo, with a combined population of about 800,000 youth. We are partners with many other like-minded youth organizations in slum areas, who'll be instrumental in our scale up plan.


  • Kenya


  • Yes, for more than one year.


  • I’ve worked in a sector related to my idea for over a year


We identified the need to include business registration training to legitimize ownership of individual youth businesses. Young people are not aware of the values of patenting of innovative business ideas & concepts, and copyrighting their arts. Most felt that their ideas are easily taken over and implemented by others with financial capacity, and that they were being exploited out of their inexperience. Therefore, many were concerned about sharing their business ideas. Consequently, this influenced our idea to include training & support in regards to safeguarding intellectual property. This has given the youth confidence in engaging in our project idea with a renewed hope of not only owning a business, but thriving in it. Beneficiary feedback has also enabled us to allocate them roles in the idea development stage such as; creation of a database, by listing down all innovative Ideas to be incubated for possible registration & copyrighting. We will incorporate market intelligence surveys in our training program, to identify existing business opportunities by utilizing the internet as a platform relevant to youth, and integrate economies of scale to increase product/service demand.


We are providing secure space in an environment where slums are congested and insecure for businesses to thrive. We have a ready infrastructure conducive for 100 business incubation at a time for starters. This includes; our popular radio station known as Ghetto FM and a vibrant ICT access center with Wi-Fi access. Our community radio station will be used to amplify the business ideas and further seek solutions from listeners to boost each other’s ideas. Our partners from BBC media action Kenya support our station by facilitating workshops & training. We have a 3 year old savings and loaning project (MSEP) that we will utilize to financially support and scale business ventures. This is not only a unique approach to youth idea development in slums, but also the rest of the country. We are based inside the slums and therefore are well endowed with challenges faced by young people and existing thriving businesses that can be points for youth placement and mentorship within reach. Also, our plan includes the introduction of networking opportunities through market advisory forums/discussion groups. All these are important elements to establish a thriving youth entrepreneurship platform.


It's a more personalized approach targeting youth specifically living in slums. Other notable approaches such as the government have not been able to conclude youth programs due to inadequate attention attributed to interruption cases of corruption and poor infrastructure, leaving youth bewildered and their hopes shattered. Also, key stakeholders have no prior knowledge of the dynamics existing in slum communities in terms of their needs, strategic approaches to solving issues in a cosmopolitan population that will enable them prioritize entrepreneurship needs appropriately. Youth living in slum communities have complex issues, which requires a consultative effort of various stakeholders.


• How receptive will the Kenyan government be to grant us seed capital from the Youth Development fund, to aid our savings and loaning project (MSEP) to complement their efforts? • Language translation: how efficient and effective will it be to translate our training material to Swahili and local dialects without compromising the content? • How can we efficiently build scale for trainers/facilitators without compromising standards, considering the rising number of youth in slums? • What is the level of commitment of our target beneficiaries to complete the training sessions, utilize the resources & opportunities we avail, and actually implement what they learn in their business ventures?


Entrepreneurship is one out of several core pillar projects of SIDAREC, where we have been supporting youth and women through our savings and loaning project MSEP. Our Y-BOSS idea is new because we are introducing skills development and business acumen training aspect, incorporated with use of ICT and internet platforms, market intelligence surveys, introduction of networking and mentorship. We are leveraging our expertise in entrepreneurship by adding value to our program, a step further than merely starting a business, by instilling a culture of scaling up accredited to good business acumen, protecting young people’s intellectual property and connecting them with market opportunities. Although we have been producing radio programs, we are now venturing into producing business programs that will be aired across our partner community radio stations that broadcast in different slum communities in Kenya. We want to motivate the youth to share ideas, learn from each other and, it is a medium of marketing their business ventures to a wider reach of potential consumers.


The primary lead project design and implementer is SIDAREC staff & volunteers, a team of 25 dedicated youth, comprised of entrepreneurs & experienced facilitators, from 3 of our centers. Ghetto FM’s radio mentor from BBC Media Action, will devote his time to lead the production of the business programs, & mentor youth interested in production. For scale, our potentially partner is the Youth Development fund, to finance our MSEP program, to be used in loaning startups & innovative ventures.


What if:youth have access to entrepreneurial information, readily available resources and tools to become their own bosses? In 5 years, we would like to mobilize, train & mentor, incubate & launch 100 Youth every 6 months, enable youth from slum communities to be self driven opportunity seeking entrepreneurs through motivation,business mentorship/placement, & access to Ghetto FM as a platform to generate business messages to be shared with our partner community radio stations as a scale up plan


  • Between $100,000 and $500,000


  • Within 50 km of where our team does most of its work


  • Between 6 months and a year


To access a pool of implementable entrepreneur ideas, resourceful persons & mentors, to establish networks & partnerships with like-minded youth organizations, to share our experiences in working with unemployed, yet resourceful youth from poor communities, so as to improve their lives by enabling them to be their own bosses & create employment for others, so as to lead dignified lives. Finally, to leverage & validate our social impact and success working with the poor as a showcase for others.
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Attachments (7)


Evolved user experience map of 4

User experience map pg 3.pdf

Evolved user experience map

User experience map of 2.pdf

Evolved user experience map

User experience map of 1.pdf

Evolved user experience map


Prototype test and feedback


Determining what to prototype

User experience map-SIDAREC.pdf

Our idea in the different stages it will go through in the quest of nurturing entrepreneurs and managers in Kenya.


Join the conversation:

Photo of OpenIDEO

Hi SIDAREC Team! Amplify and our experts have some notes and questions about your submission. We encourage you to reflect on this feedback as you continue to improve and refine your idea.

- You have an interesting idea to target a unique population and user group - well done!
- Tell us more about your relationship with Ghetto FM and BBC Media Action. Are these new partnerships? Existing working relationships? How will you collaborate together to make this idea come to life?
- What role will Ghetto FM take in each aspect of this specific youth employment project? How would each aspect - skills development, information sharing, network building - happen?
- Have you learned any insights or failures from other accelerators? Where have you sought inspiration to inform the evolution of your idea?
- Who is the team producing the content for the curriculum? What depth of knowledge do they have that will support your users?
- What challenges do you foresee regarding the sustainability of your idea and program? Do you have any preliminary hypotheses on how to approach these obstacles?
- Have you explored relationships to link savings groups to partners? Have you considered potential financial service providers? Is there an actor outside of the Youth Development Fund network you have not considered?
- Do you have a User Experience Map? We don't seem to see it on your post. I encourage you to do this exercise to understand your user's journey. See the example and link here:
- You have a great opportunity to leverage Ghetto FM for the benefit of youth skills and business development in your communities and beyond. It will be great to hear more about how this aspect of the work - which is your USP (unique selling proposition) - will happen!

Be sure to answer the additional questions included in your post! Go to the 'Edit Contribution' button at the top left-hand corner of your screen, and scroll down to the bottom to find the questions.

In case you missed it, OpenIDEO and Amplify hosted a Storytelling Office Hour - Storytelling is an incredibly useful tool to articulate an idea and help make it come to life! Don't forget - December 18th is your last day to make changes to your idea on the OpenIDEO platform.

Looking forward to reading more!

Photo of Eve Nicole

Q1. Tell us more about your relationship with Ghetto FM and BBC Media Action. Are these new partnerships? Existing working relationships?

SIDAREC has 5 programs, namely:
• Youth Reproductive health and sexuality
• Early Childhood Education and e-learning
• Entrepreneurship and Mashinani Social enterprise (MSEP) loaning scheme.
• Women and Girls
• Community Media (Ghetto FM) and ICT
Therefore, 99.9 Ghetto FM as seen above, is one of SIDAREC’s programs under community media and ICT and has broadcast frequencies that exclusively targets vastly populated Embakasi and Kamukunji slum areas. It is therefore a community radio station owned by SIDAREC and used to amplify SIDAREC’s social programs mentioned above. It is very instrumental in creation of awareness and educational issues that affect people living in slum communities.
Through Ghetto FM banner an Amplified voice for the voiceless, the station aims at engaging community participation in SIDAREC’s development agenda by amplifying social issues of benefit to them as well as seeking solutions in a human centered design approach.
Ghetto 99.9 FM station has a listenership of over 600,000 people.
BBC Media Action is the BBC’s international development charity that uses media and communications to achieve development outcomes in the areas of health, governance and resilience. The charity aims to reach audiences at scale – reaching hundreds of thousands of peoples – sometimes millions with information that raises awareness, increases knowledge, shifts attitudes and social norms and ultimately behavior change. BBC Media Action works through partnerships with radio stations such as Ghetto FM, strengthening our capacity to produce media outputs that transform communities and societies.
Our partnership with BBC Media Action is not new, as it began in 2015 within a WASH (Water and sanitation hygiene) project, where they are building our capacity to produce programs that shift attitudes and produce behavior change with regard to hand washing at all times. As you know, our organization is situated within a slum area where health problems arising from lack of proper sanitation and hygiene are rife. BBC Media action has been supporting us editorially and technically to be able to produce media programming around WASH.

Q2. How will you collaborate together to make this idea come to life?

In this proposal, SIDAREC will leverage this relationship with BBC Media Action, making use of the editorial and technical skills of our BBC Mentor to help us produce programming that will improve the livelihoods of young people, providing them with practical entrepreneurial information, linking them to markets, mentorship, tools and other opportunities, in order to build their self and collective efficacy to enable them grow their micro-enterprises to scale, thus enabling them to create livelihoods for themselves, their families and their communities; with the ultimate goal being to make them their own bosses, and employ others.

Q3. What role will Ghetto FM take in each aspect of this specific youth employment project? How would each aspect - skills development, information sharing, network building - happen?

Skills Development- Ghetto FM will design thematic programs in response to a variety of skills of interest to youths and elicit listener feedback on their viability, profitability and scalability before it’s endorsed as a viable business for incubation. Ghetto FM will run PSAs calling out youth will skills that become potential businesses for a challenge and through ghetto FM vote for them. Those interested with a particular skill may join and learn through the incubation process. The aim is to create an idea - factory for as many youth as possible to choose from.
Information sharing:- Besides live broadcasts, will share business information through social media interactions. Ghetto FM has a vibrant Face book, twitter, you-tube and online live streaming. The radio uses mobile phone short messaging (sms), phone callbacks and yahoo chats for feedback.
Network building- In network building Ghetto FM will be crucial in the creation of radio listening groups from feedback areas. SIDAREC is a youth organization and as such works with youth groups and organizations with programs that target youth development. In this project we shall establish new networks through our current networks to rope in more youth. These groups and organizations will be mobilized to develop business “how to do” content for broadcast. We shall reach out to private and commercial enterprises to advertise on Ghetto FM and even co-host youth interested in their type of business ventures.

Photo of Eve Nicole

Q7. Have you explored relationships to link savings groups to partners? Have you considered potential financial service providers? Is there an actor outside of the Youth Development Fund network you have not considered?

Through one of our programs (MSEP-Mashinani Social Enterprise), we have an existing savings and loaning program, characterized by a low one off transaction fee, consisting of two hundred and fifty members. We would like to create our own fund, which we would like to maintain for sustainability purposes of the whole project. However, financial institutions and other partners will be sought in the long run at the scale up stages. We have not considered banking institutions due to the high interest rates levied on loans, and the demand for collateral, which has made loaning services out of reach for the youth from slum communities.

Q8. You have a great opportunity to leverage Ghetto FM for the benefit of youth skills and business development in your communities and beyond. It will be great to hear more about how this aspect of the work - which is your USP (unique selling proposition) - will happen!

Indeed Ghetto FM is our asset in developing youth skills to reach more youth in slums and beyond through our online streaming, local partner radio stations and our content production strategic development partner BBC Media Action.

Photo of Eve Nicole

Lastly, we had uploaded a user experience map, which later evolved after we acquired feedback from our target beneficiaries, so as to ensure our idea address their needs, taking into consideration the business and social dynamics of slum communities, so as to device a project that will be executed effeciently and effectively.
You can see the change from the initial user experience map we attached, compared to the recently updated one.

Photo of Shem Aura

Eve, I really like your idea, especially since you plan on using radio as a tool to empower your target beneficiaries, and reach a larger audience as well, who may directly or indirectly benefit from economic empowerment plan for the slum communities. How do you plan on scaling your idea to other slum communities in Kenya and in the near future, East Africa?

Photo of Eve Nicole

Thank you Shem. We first plan to work with our partner community organizations and community radio stations within Nairobi by customizing our training program to fit their beneficiaries , then scale up to the rest of Kenya and ultimately East African countries. This will be done through radio programs which will be produced by the different community radio stations (alternating) and aired across all the radio stations. This will allow beneficiaries from different counties/countries to learn from each other, with the aim of advancing their entrepreneurial ventures. 

Photo of christine AKINYI Onyango

great idea that  is integrated, promotes youth talent to sustainable  development, empowers them through radio and at the same time provides an  incubation Hub to have a hands on experience from the knowledge gained very positive in the lives of youths living in the slums considering the unemployment rates in the society.

Photo of Eve Nicole

We appreciate and thank you for your feedback.

Photo of Emily Molzan

Hello Eve,
It was exciting reading your application as it sounds like you have a similar mission and vision as we do at Pamoja Tunaweza Boys & Girls Club. What particularly are you teaching the participants? We focus on health, children's rights, business, English and vocational skills of jewelry making, tailoring and art. It would be interesting to learn more about what you teach to see if there is an opportunity for us to exchange some information.

Photo of Eve Nicole

@pamoja Hello, thank you for expressing your interest in working with us. We focus on training business acumen skills, computer skills, radio production, music production, acting, vocational skills such as soap making, baking and hairdressing. Moreover, we have a savings and loaning program called MSEP (Mashinani Social Enterprise), aimed at sustaining and scaling these entrepreneurial ventures. Indeed we can learn from each other since our ideas are similar, with a slight difference in the training provisions. What kind of challenges have you encountered? Would love to learn more about your initiative.