Young people thrive in incubator manufacturing – Kenya News Agency
The Youth Business Development Fund, which is one of the flagship projects of Vision 2030, under the social pillar, continued to improve the lives of young people in Kericho County by providing financial support services and easy and affordable business development.
Robert Kipkoech of Kiptegan Village in Kapsoit, Kericho County, shares his gripping story of how he gradually rose from grass to grace through the incubator-making project he started after receiving a loan from the Youth Business Development Fund.
The 32-year-old father-of-two hinted to KNA that in 2019 he managed to secure a loan from the Youth Fund worth 1 million shillings which enabled him to start his incubator manufacturing business which earned him at least Sh150,000 per month when the demand is high.
The passionate entrepreneur revealed that the incubators he manufactures are the most popular in the region as they are an improved prototype of ordinary incubators that exist in the market since it uses medium density fiberboard (MDF) that moderate the heat.
“Most of the incubators on the market are made of iron sheets which rarely moderate the heat and more often than not the eggs spoil due to excessive heat. That’s why I decided to use the MDF which is a better option,” Kipkoech said.
Kipkoech, a graduate of the Rift Valley Institute of Science and Technology with a degree in mechanical engineering, revealed that he earned his stripes and learned his ropes while working in Qatar where he was employed as an engineer in a company that dealt construction and repair of incubators.
“My two-year experience in Qatar opened my eyes to an opportunity that I thought would work better in Kenya. So, I made sure that I had learned the necessary skills for building incubators before returning home. me to start my own business when my contract expires,” Kipkoech added.
Kipkoech, who currently employs four technicians in his newly built workshop, explained that he imports building materials from China twice a year, costing him more than Sh600,000 per import, adding that the quality of materials from of China was best suited to the longevity and effectiveness of its product.
“An incubator takes three days to be complete and ready to go,” remarked Kipkoech, who is also a local leader and hopes to run for a political seat in the future. He says the prices for incubators largely depend on the number of eggs they can hold.
“A 528-egg incubator costs 60,000 shillings while the 352-egg one costs 55,000 shillings. An incubator with a capacity of 254 eggs costs Sh. 50,000 and that of 88 eggs costs Sh. 30,000. Kipkoech pointed out.
He revealed that he gets his clients from referrals from other clients who have used his product profitably and also from an agri-vet company known as Parkson which sells its products to various clients in the counties neighbors of Bomet, Kisumu and Nakuru.
“I also managed to get several tenders to distribute incubators which also increased my income, which in turn helped me start other projects which benefit my family a lot,” Kipkoech said. .
The trader who has now bought his young family a huge piece of land and is currently building a lavish house for them from the profits he has made so far, says he hopes to repay his youth fund loan and take out a another loan to expand his business into a business that will employ at least 50 young people from his village.
“By next year I will have finished repaying the loan of 1 million shillings and I hope to qualify for a loan of 3 million shillings with which I intend to expand my business and ‘to impact more lives by providing job opportunities for young people in my area,’ Kipkoech said. .
According to Kericho County Loan Officer, Mr. Victor Langat, a total of 34 investment groups and five individual investors have benefited from the Youth Enterprise Development Fund to the tune of 11.6 million shillings.
“For the 34 groups, we disbursed a total of 8.2 million shillings while registered individual investors received 3.4 million shillings.” explains Langat.
The loan officer further said that collection of loans issued to individual investors and groups has improved during this financial year, adding that strategies have been put in place to ensure effective collection.
“We use administrative officers like chiefs to follow up with groups and individuals to ensure loans are repaid on time. We are also closely monitoring their plans and reimbursement,” he added.
Langat encouraged Kericho County youth to capitalize on the youth fund, noting that loan uptake for those with tenders is still low, but they provide up to 70% financing for tenders.
“The Agri-biz loan is available for young people who wish to start or expand agriculture-related businesses, including the purchase of equipment and working capital. It is available to individuals, registered groups, partnerships and youth owned and managed businesses in which they can access up to Sh. 2 million to be repaid within 3 years,” Mr. Langat clarified.
He pointed out that applicants must source inputs or equipment from accredited vendors and provide invoices/quotes for these. They must also have a valid supply contract if applicable and copies thereof along with relevant licenses, and a proposal to start an agricultural business, endorsed by a mentor from the same agribusiness who will also guarantee the applicant.
Applicants are also required to provide relevant business documents including sales contracts, provide 6 month certified bank statements and provide proof of ownership of the land where the farming will be undertaken or rental contracts for the leased land, or the owner’s land use consent.
“Business start-up applicants must be organized into groups, or must have alternative income, or must provide conventional credentials,” Langat explained.
By Kibe Mburu and Sharon Chepkoech