HNP’s training rooms have been busy this fall. Another HNP collaborator, the Somo Project, is also offering entrepreneurial training to Kiberans at the Town Centre, but this training is very intense and targeted. First Somo identified community members with the vision, skills, self-belief, and focus to build meaningful social enterprise in important focus areas: health, education and the environment.
To prepare these entrepreneurs, Somo Project provides an intensive (ten-week) boot camp business-training program modeled after entrepreneurial accelerator programs. The Business Training Program is a combination of interactive video lessons and in-class instruction focused on the key elements of starting and scaling a business. In addition, the Somo training features business “life lessons,” which focus on fostering self-belief and dealing with the unique challenges of starting and building businesses in low-income areas. In between class sessions, Somo participants use the HNP cybercafé to refine their business plans.
Participants go through additional rounds of coaching on their original business plans and a final step of judging, in which a panel decides whether the entrepreneur and the business have long-term potential. Those who pass this final round are assigned two mentors—one local and one international—and receive a grant, depending on the business need, that is paid out over the course of three years. Eventually the goal is that successful businesses invest a percentage of their revenue and time as mentors in support of future entrepreneurs in Kibera. We feel confident that HNP’s collaboration with Somo Project will create some social enterprise superstars that will boost the whole community!