We have had nothing short of an exhilarating weekend. Years from now, this weekend will be firmly entrenched in the mind of many Kenyans. However, I am big on practical stuff, so the question in my head is what practical steps can Kenya’s youth take from the #GES2015Kenya Summit? I have been trying to figure out the relevance of the #GES2015Kenya summit to a young person who was not be able to attend the summit, let alone be anywhere near where the summit will be held. My answer came in the form of a speech that President Uhuru gave a few days prior to the summit; the president directed various government ministries to further simplify the process of the youth taking part in government tenders.
I attended a meeting last week organised by African Women’s Entrepreneurship Programme (AWEP) Kenya whose aim was to train women and youth on ways to take advantage of the 30% quota allotted to youth and women for all government tenders. In the recent past I have been in several meetings where government officials have highlighted how the youth and the women in Kenya are not taking advantage of the 30% quota. One of the officials had gone to great heights to explain how the older generation had resulted to creating companies with their children as silent partners in order to take advantage of this gold-mine
The AWEP training was nothing short of mind-blowing. Here are a few things that we can all pick up from the training:
- Did you know that a Youth Enterprises Development Fund (YEDF) exists and its sole purpose is to help you finance government tenders? One of the scary points for many people is where they will find the finances/capital to do the work if they win a government tender. Turns out we worry too much, the government thought of that before we did!
- Did you know that if you won a government tender worth less than 1 million, the YEDF can give you an unsecured loan to finance the project? Unsecured. If you are like me, you dread applying for a bank loan and having to attach every single property you own (and woe unto you if you don’t own any)!
- Did you know Kenya’s youth and women are prequalified suppliers to all these government tenders? The process of becoming a prequalified supplier in any institution is pretty hard let alone a government institution. But here the government has done all the hard work for the youth, you are already pre-qualified, you do not need to send a qualification bid bond, all you need to do is apply directly for the tender.
- Did you know that all the government requires you to do in order to benefit from all these is register with Access to Government Procurement Opportunities (AGPO) after which you will then get an AGPO Certificate ? It is also quite encouraging to note that the process of getting this certification is pretty straightforward, it’s all done online! All you need is your national ID, a registered business, a tax compliance certificate and just like that you’ll get an AGPO Certificate. How cool is that?
- Did you know that a website exists to let you know of all government tenders? Yap, your life could not be any easier. Check out the tenders here
You can imagine my excitement as I went through this training. This training made it sound too easy and so the cynic in me looked for someone who has won and delivered a government tender. I did not need to look for a contact too far, Tony Muli was more than willing to share his experience having recently won a tender to Vihiga County. He had applied for a tender on photography and design and believe it or not he won it without having to bribe even one person!
This got me thinking. You see the reason I have kept away from this tender business is because in my mind I believed that this was the business of ‘knowing the right people’ or that ‘I needed to be paying bribes’. Turns out our world is changing. I am sure there still are many issues to the process but what if this is our gold mine? What if this is an opportunity we just cannot turn away from? What if! What has held you back from this gold-mine? Is it the fear of bribing like me? Feel free to share any other reasons you may have at the comments section, let’s engage and learn from each other.