Coca-Cola together with its bottling partner Coca-Cola Beverages Africa (CCBA), Kenya has kitted 50 beneficiaries in Nairobi County as a means to nurture their entrepreneurial spirit.

The innovative initiative, dubbed Kuza Kazi, seeks to create job opportunities, offer training and sharpen entrepreneurial skills of the youth. This is in a bid to address the high rate of unemployment in the country.

“We have today kitted beneficiaries in Nairobi County with starter kits consisting of an ice box, a parasol, products (soft drinks, water or juices) and branding materials, which were costed as an initial investment into their business. They will then operate under the direct supervision of the Coca-Cola bottling partners who will integrate them into the Coca-Cola retail network as well as fulfil vendors’ product orders, offer training and sales support,” said Mr. Patrick Nyamai, Entrepreneurship and Financial Services Manager, K-YES Program, USAID.

Through the Kuza Kazi initiative, Coca-Cola aims to economically empower a total of 1,000 youth from Nairobi County in the next three years by equipping them to start table-top businesses. The youth will then join Coca-Cola’s retail chain distribution network using Coca-Cola products to enhance their income and savings, expand their business, and build their potential to become future employers.

“As Coca-Cola Beverages Africa, we are today delighted to partner with the County Government of Nairobi as we seek solutions to address the unemployment situation in the county currently pegged at 14.7 percent of the potential labour force. We are also working closely with financial institutions and the international development agency, USAID to support our youth,” said Victoria Macharia, Sustainability Co-ordinator, Public Affairs and Communication, CCBA.

She added: “Through the Coca-Cola Foundation, we began with the global 5by20 initiative aimed at empowering 5 million women by 2020. In Kenya, for instance, we have economically empowered 544,000 women since 2011.”

Rolled out in partnership with PricewaterhouseCoppers (PwC) as the project managers, the Kuza Kazi initiative aims at not only creating employment opportunities, but also formalizing the informal sector which currently represents over 80 percent of employment in Kenya.

The initiative is designed to work through the existing Coca-Cola ecosystem, utilising the supply chain operated by the Coca-Cola bottling companies (Coca-Cola Beverages Africa, Almasi Beverages, and Coastal Bottlers).

The Kuza Kazi initiative, seeks to harness the power of Coca-Cola’s supply chain to create 50,000 jobs for Kenyan youth every year in partnership with donors, like-minded private sector entities and support from county governments.