The Balloon Fund

So after 8 weeks, 130 lessons, 300+ hours of teaching and countless interviews, prototypes and observations, the Kenyan youth groups arrived at the offices of Hope and Vision to present their business ideas for funding.

It was a fantastic and exciting day. By 6pm 6 groups had secured funding totalling £1680 in loans ranging from £70 to  £420; while 4 groups left disappointed but encouraged by the words of praise from the pitching panel and confident that they could return next time and pitch again with a modified idea.

Here is a brief overview of the investments made by the Balloon Fund.

Songa Mbele – courier service

In Nakuru it is difficult and expensive to transport goods around town. Songa Mbele want to use their motorbikes to offer this service in Nakuru. We funded them to by uniforms and rent an office to start their business up.

Uadilifu – silage & talent agency

We met Uadilifu during our pilot programme in 2011 and we were so impressed with their commitment that we opted to work with them again.

The first idea we funded was a silage business drying corn to sell to farmers in the dry season when demand for cattle feed is high.

We also funded a talent agency business. This agency will hold a series of talent scouting events around the Rift Valley and use an extensive network to link talented young people with mentorship and entertainment contracts.

Flyers Muzika – live music café

Flyers observed that unlike in Nairobi where many bars have bands playing, Nakuru suffers from a lack of live music – a great opportunity for something new. They have negotiated with their local church to have bands playing every Sunday. They hope this will be a launchpad to opening a café hosting regular concerts.

Mwariki – printing shop

Mwariki was one of the areas of Nakuru most hard hit by the 2007-08 Post-Election Violence. Mwariki Youth Group identified that there was nowhere in the community to have printing and design of things like menus, businesses cards and posters. We gave them a loan to buy a printer and computer to start this business.

Nakuru Youth with Disability – computer training centre

It was a real privilege working with this group of disabled young people and seeing their commitment to tackle stigma and abuse of disabled people in Kenya. We gave them a loan to buy 4 computers to help start a low cost computer college in their area targeting other disabled people and customers from low income groups, giving them a chance to learn key skills.

Overall, we hope this success is just the beginning of a long journey tackling youth unemployment in Kenya and empowering other young people from around the world with the skills to make a real difference in their own communities.

We’re now back in Kenya with our next group of 10 fellows so stay tuned!