The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) approached NTNU for support in setting up an Entrepreneurship-Hub (E-Hub) in the refugee camp in Kakuma, Kenya earlier this year. The refugee camp at Kakuma, Kenya, currently hosts about 180.000 refugees.
Traditionally, refugees are offered vocational training in a variety of trades, such as carpentry, motor mechanics etc. to offer them an opportunity for employment. Such employment, however, remains a challenge due to issues faced by refugees in gaining access to local labour markets. Additionally, such an approach often presumes a limited potential and business acumen amongst refugee populations. The many examples of successful enterprises set up around the world and in Kakuma by refugees belie this presumption.
The E-Hub is an attempt to break away from these traditional assumptions and an innovative idea that aims to provide training to a group of individuals selected from the refugee camp and the local community in Kakuma in order to enable the establishment of commercial ventures. The market for the potential ventures can be local, national or international.
A team from NTNU and the University of Nairobi visited Kakuma in June 2017 to interact with the local NRC staff and refugees in the camps there. Following this, NTNU’s School of Entrepreneurship (NSE) in partnership with NRC and the Business School at the University of Nairobi is developing the training program for the E-Hub. Modelled on the training program for students of entrepreneurship at NSE, this customized training program will enable the participants to generate and refine business ideas and give them the tools and skills to convert these to ventures. Partnerships with local government agencies, corporates and other local agencies are being established in order to provide market linkages and access to wider audiences than what a refugee camp setting would normally provide.
A video from the first visit.
We expect the first batch of students to be enrolled and undergoing training by the beginning of 2018.