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Kenyan start-up aims to stimulate a vision driven economy

By , ITWeb
Kenya , 22 Jul 2017

Kenyan start-up aims to stimulate a vision driven economy

Without proper access to digital tools, the majority of university students in Kenya are disengaged from the true academic experience. Access to knowledge, tools and inspiration is blocked by the costs of purchase.

This is according to Kenyan start-up, Cool4Skul, which seeks to empower young people in universities with digital tools and resources through the provision of affordable quality digital tools.

Since it started in 2016, the start-up says it has partnered with the likes of Microsoft, Dell, Jamii Bora Bank and JKUAT's Taifa laptop as well as two private universities including Africa Nazarene University and St. Paul's University.

Cool4Skul offers a financing scheme which is bundled into student tuition fees to assist students who cannot otherwise afford a full upfront payment of a laptop. "We bring the best offer to the table through negotiated partnerships with trusted players like Microsoft, Dell, Lenovo, Jamii Bora Bank and universities," says the company.

"Our start-up provides digital access to university students as a way of pushing for a vision driven economy," says Cool4Skul CEO, Sankei Kenga.

The idea behind Cool4Skul is to enable students to get laptops on loans and pay for them throughout their campus life in instalments. Universities would have to be signed up on the platform for their students to be eligible to join the program.

Students would then access the platform via cool4skul.com and apply to join the program. The loan repayment period and the amount would depend on the year of study of the student; first-year students would have more time and pay less per semester compared to third-year students who apply to join the program.

As reported by techweez, Kenya is currently facing a problem of "half-baked" university graduates and one of the factors that stand out "is that graduates do not have the skills required by the current job market. This has left many unemployed, despite their educational background."

Out of a working age population of 24 million Kenyans, one in every six is said to be unemployed. Kenya was placed at the 97th spot out of 118 economies globally, when it comes to talented skill by the Global Talent Competitiveness index 2017.

The study, states that Kenya is lagging behind the sub-Saharan mean in several key indicators, including vocational and technical skills, retention of skilled talent and opportunities for growth and development of talent.

With an aim to combat a lack of accessibility to digital tools in Kenya, Sankei says he started Cool4Skul to create an environment that for university students to get access to digital devices that would empower them to get skills like programming, design and entrepreneurship.

"If I am able to enable the university students to develop a skill, commercialise or become an entrepreneur, I would have enabled these young people to have a hope," said Sankei. "I want to be part of that change that if I look back, I can say, I did my small part," he says.

So far, Cool4Skul has received over 300 full applications for laptops from the participating universities and the company has projections of up to 7 000 applications during the upcoming September intake.

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