Unreasonable at Sea

The Unreasonable Institute has partnered with Semester at Sea to launch this accelerator on a ship as it travels more than 25,000 nautical miles around the globe to 14 international destinations.

Over the course of the 100 day accelerator, the 10 companies we work with will have the chance to:

  • explore the local economies of 14 countries where they will experiment in taking their technology to market and will bridge connections with top government officials, foundations, venture capitalists, and serial entrepreneurs,
  • bring 2-3 core members of their founding team for the entirety of the program
  • be mentored by 20 world-class serial entrepreneurs and innovators who will join us on the ship,
  • be connected to and form relationships with top-tier globally centric venture capital funds and foundations,
  • go through an intensive accelerator led by the founder of the Unreasonable Institute and the founder of Stanford’s d-school,
  • live, travel, and work with 9 other extraordinary companies and their teams,
  • live, mentor, and learn from the over 600 undergraduates who will be studying abroad on Semester at Sea throughout the entire voyage, and
  • circumnavigate the globe on Semester at Sea’s MV Explorer (fastest cruise-liner in the world).

Read More

2012 TechWomen Mentorship Program

Harnessing the power of business, technology and innovation, TechWomen brings emerging women leaders in technology sectors from the Middle East and North Africa together with their American counterparts for a professional mentorship and exchange program at leading companies in the United States.

Overview of the Initiative

The TechWomen  program will occur over five weeks from early September through October 2012. The program will commence in the San Francisco Bay Area, California, and will conclude in Washington, D.C.

Professional Mentorships

TechWomen Mentees will take part in three-week project-based mentorships at leading companies in Silicon Valley and the San Francisco Bay Area. Each Mentee is matched with a Professional Mentor who partners with the Mentee on a technical project at the host company and provides professional guidance and support.

Professional Enrichment

As a complement to the mentorships, TechWomen Mentees will participate in professional enrichment activities. In 2011, TechWomen participants attended leadership and entrepreneurship workshops, “Tech Talks,” and served on panels at community events. They participated in “tech meet ups,” TEDxSoMa, and other networking events.

In 2012, TechWomen Mentees will attend the Grace Hopper Celebration for Women in Computing, a conference organized by the Anita Borg Institute focused on supporting women in today’s technology fields, including computer science, information technology, research and engineering.

Cultural Enrichment

Each TechWomen Mentee has a Cultural Mentor who facilitates activities to help showcase American culture and deepen mutual understanding. In 2011, Mentees volunteered with incarcerated girls in juvenile halls and attended neighborhood festivals, book readings, art exhibits and dance performances. They also visited national landmarks in San Francisco and Washington, D.C.

Interested? Apply Now!

The 2012 TechWomen application is now open. For eligibility requirements and to apply, please visit http://www.techwomen.org/how-to-apply/

The application deadline is February 15th

Kenyan Youth Strategy Meeting 2011 – Nairobi Declaration

13th and 14th October 2011

Preamble

We, the delegates to the Kenyan Youth Strategy Meeting for Rio +20 at the United Nations Complex at Gigiri, Nairobi:

Acknowledge the African indigenous knowledge of the sacred value of the environment to biodiversity wellbeing.

Commit to promote innovations that will develop a green economy and promote the eradication of poverty.

Take note of the past declarations towards environmental sustainability both at the African and Global level, there is an urgent need for structural and infrastructural interventions in policy formulation, implementation and evaluation.

Recognize the current global environmental challenges, particularly climate change, which impact our common future and wellbeing, we commit ourselves to support of the following mechanisms:

  • Good governance and transformative leadership.
  • Promote Education, information exchange, communication and awareness
  • Achieve sustainable agricultural practices to reduce hunger, starvation and enhance food security.
  • Advocate for the development and implementation of sustainable development policies towards a Green Economy.
  • Invest in and promote eco-friendly entrepreneurship and job creation.
  • Attain sustainable green cities and villages.
  • Promote public engagement and participation through culture and volunteerism.
  • Promote Youth Development and capacity building
  • Good Governance and Transformative Leadership

We recognize the role of good governance and transformative sustainable development leadership that is

  • Participatory
  • accountable,
  • transparent and
  • implementable

at national and county levels. We reject governance that is weak on transitioning to a green economy and embrace that which promotes a green economy which engenders human well-being and social equity and respect for the natural environment, and the value of biodiversity and eco-systems, guided by, and accountable to, a new World Environment Organisation with universal membership by all UN Member States.  We also call for mechanisms in such new institutions that allow for youth participation in decision-making.

Youth delegations have to be engaged at all levels of governance in discussing benchmarks for the green economy. The Youth need to be involved in efforts towards policy formulation and development of institutional frameworks. Additionally, youth participation should be integrated at local, national and international assessments towards the development of an index for measuring the progress towards a green economy.

Promote Education, information exchange, communication and awareness

We recommend the adoption of green economy and sustainable development education material at all levels of education and public training initiatives by 2014. We intend to achieve this through the creation of various information sharing methods to various segments of the society.

We acknowledge that education underpins awareness; and awareness is critical to the spread of sustainable development principles through multiple levels in society.

Education serves as a hub for understanding the types of information to be considered when thinking about the green economy; how monitoring will be shaped in the context of the information identified as relevant; and the role of education on the environment to serve as a communication/public awareness tool on sustainable development.

Build an understanding toward the intersection of business, environment and society, in educating all people about the tenets critical to achieve sustainable development, especially the Youth.

Action: Build a national curriculum standard that promotes business in a green society. 2015

Action: Educate students in primary and secondary schools on the green economy by creating incentives that allow NGOs, student groups or CBOs to serve as ambassadors for education of the green economy. 2015

Action:  Build a monitoring service from the information-discovered. Discovery of information should be an integrated process involving key stakeholders with a special emphasis on Youth. Progress towards sustainable development goals should be identified as key thematic working groups, using poverty alleviation and institutional reform as output goals, and involvement of youth and CBOs as an inherent part of the process. 2018

Achieve sustainable agricultural practices to reduce hunger, starvation and enhance food security.

Whereas recognizing the interrelation between our national forest cover and agricultural productivity we recommend the following measures;

  • Increasing our national forest cover to 10% from the current 2% by the year 2015 through creation of green parks, promoting agroforestry and sustainable agribusiness.
  • Phasing out of hazardous chemical fertilizers in arable farming by the year 2015.
  • Promoting the utilization of the green energy technologies to enhance affordable agricultural production.

Advocate for the development and implementation of sustainable development policies towards a Green Economy.

Develop sustainability measures and indicators against which government programmes can be measured and assessed.

Advocate for the legislation of policies on sustainable development that regulate the corporations’ adherence to green economy modules.

Ensure that approximately 25% of the annual government development budget goes towards program initiatives on sustainable development, with clear indication on targets towards green growth in community development and individual technological entrepreneurship.  15% of the 5% funding should be geared towards mobilizing and benchmarking activities to demarcate marginal change of youth involvement in the green economy.  35% of that “Sustainable Development funding” should be geared towards supporting renewable energy and zero-carbon activities that are both sustainable and demonstrably financially viable, in a local and youth-oriented level. 2013

Ensure the programmatic and structural archetype of an environmental body that can hold nations and member-states accountable for reporting and making transparent their pathways and transitions towards a green economy. 2015

Ensure that the youth are fully represented at the National Land Commission.

Invest in and promote eco-friendly entrepreneurship and job creation.

Establish independent institutional mechanisms for promoting green entrepreneurship and growth among youth.

Set up an independent fund to provide start-up financing for green enterprises by youth

Promote technological, business and social innovation through creating enabling policy environment and platforms

Invest in business models that promote community development

Promote alternative and innovative funding and investment in youth green enterprises such as crowd-funding

Sensitize youth at all levels on green entrepreneurship through different channels such as new media

Create enabling business and policy environment for green entrepreneurship, for example, tax waivers for youth green enterprises

Promote public engagement and participation through culture and volunteerism.

We recognize the aspect of culture and indigenous knowledge that embraced green economy through agroforestry, organic fertilizers for sustainable development.

For sustainable development towards green economy, we recommend the need for selfless/political willingness from all levels of governance, private sector and individuals in promoting the green economy.

We recommend that; at all levels of policy formulation and participation, there is need for public engagement and concurrence which will enhance easy implementation and sustainability.

We stand for investment, documentation, promotion and development of best practices in cultural beliefs and practices that further conservation and renewable energy founded on indigenous knowledge.

Promotion of community and youth-led exchanges is key in this regard for effective sharing and transfer of green growth skills through access and exchange of information.

We appreciate that volunteerism will act as a means of inculcating community ownership of sustainable development initiatives.

Harness public engagement and Youth volunteerism to benchmark progress on the role of corporations in sustainable development through Corporate Socially Responsible initiatives.

Attain sustainable green cities and villages

Develop an independent institution to assess business models for micro-enterprises to assess their suitability for tax benefits and other incentives. And to regulate and ensure that micro-enterprises do not compromise environmental sustainability.

Develop comprehensive waste management systems by:

  • Placing increased emphasis on waste separation and recycling systems;
  • Establishing dug-in decomposition landfills where decomposable materials are put to decompose; once decomposed the material can be used as organic manure.

Establish awards to recognize and celebrate the effort of cities and villages that take significant steps in transforming into green cities and villages.

Regulate transportation to reduce congestion by:

  • Establishing dedicated lanes for public transport vehicles and
  • Implement mass transport systems such as rail transport.

Promote Youth Development and capacity building

In order to facilitate and further build capacity in youth to fully engage in and drive development processes to address the above priority areas, we call upon our governments to:

Adopt a Youth Development Index as an indicator of the welfare of the youth in the countries; and as a measure of the youth development.

Review existing and develop new policies and legislation to:

Promote youth innovation and entrepreneurship through structures such as:

  • Talent Academies
  • Technology and Business incubation centres

Protect these innovations through structures and measures such as:

  • Strong and easily accessible Intellectual Property protection
  • Moderate and accommodative tax regimes

Promoting youth participation in international forums through

  • Incorporating youth delegations as part of national delegations to international conferences
  • Providing funding for youth to participate at international
  • Incorporating youth in National policy formulation and implementation

Develop and strengthen national and local structures to provide support and training for youth organizations with emphasis in the areas of:

  • Establishment of community and youth led organizations
  • Leadership and organizational management
  • Strategic Planning
  • Project Management

Require that all government ministries establish youth offices and develop and implement youth engagement strategies to streamline youth participation in the work of the ministries.

Convene national and local youth forums to discuss matters relevant to youth development and make recommendations for action in support of youth development by state and non-state actors.

Improve youth access to information especially with regard to rural communities and informal urban settlements, through Establishment of community ICT Digital Villages

Conclusion

We, as young people, this is what we declare and recommend our government, individuals, businesses, development organizations and all stakeholders to undertake ahead of Rio+20 and beyond. Any action to be taken affects us and our future generation to a greater extent. We care about our planet and we will all work together in creating a more sustainable era. Green Economy is Achievable.

Doing Business in the East African Community 2011

The East African Community is deepening and widening cooperation among its 5 member states. Spurred by the need to expand markets, boost competitiveness and attract investment, East African countries have continued to take steps to make it easier for local firms to start up and operate.

The main findings of the report are:

  • Doing business has become easier in East Africa since 2005.
  • Sharing good practices could bring East Africa closer to global top performers.
  • If each East African country were to adopt the region’s best practice in each of the Doing Business indicators, the region’s average ranking on the ease of doing business would be 18 rather than 117.
  • If the best of East African regulations and procedures were implemented across the board, the business regulatory environment in East Africa, as measured by Doing Business, would be comparable to that in Japan.
  • EAC members are already seeking to learn from one another’s good reform practices through the World Bank Group-sponsored Network of Reformers initiative.

Read the  Doing Business in the East African Community 2011 Report here

SEED Awards for Entrepreneurship in Sustainable Development

The SEED Awards for Entrepreneurship in Sustainable Development is an annual awards scheme designed to find the most promising, innovative and locally led start-up social and environmental entrepreneurs in countries with developing and emerging economies.

An international jury of experts selects enterprises which have the potential to make real improvements in poverty eradication and environmental sustainability while contributing to a greener economy

For more information, visit http://www.yipekenya.org/SEED Awards for Entrepreneurship in Sustainable Development.htm

New interactive Business Finance Tool launched for Kenyan small business owners

Financing is the lifeblood of a business. Whether one is starting an enterprise or if they are seeking to expand their business – the lack of money can be detrimental.
After having polled its users, the Youth Interactive Portal for Enterprise – YIPE (www.yipekenya.org) found that the reason for the low uptake of formal business financing opportunities among Kenyan small business owners was not due to perceived barriers such as tedious application processes as previously thought.
The main reason amongst the sampled business owners was simply that they did not know of the availability of business financial products on offer.
This finding spurred YIPE to develop and launch its Business Finance Interactive Search Tool (www.yipekenya.org/Business finance.htm) which enables business entrepreneurs in four easy steps to access information of business financial products that suit their stage of business.
This product easily reduces the time and expense required in searching for appropriate financial products. As a value add-on, users can also access information from a database of over 1,000 entries (and rising) of financial sources in the county their business operates in.
Having the available financial product information in one place makes it possible for users to find banks and micro-finance institutions near them as well as compare the various financial products from multiple providers.
Users are given the options to select their business stage, the type of financing required and the county they reside in. YIPE’s business finance tool then presents them with a list of financial institutions (commercial banks, micro-finance institutions etc) whose products match their criteria, along with the providers’ contact information.
The Business Finance Interactive Search Tool is available on www.yipekenya.org/Business finance.htm and is free for all users.
For the time being, YIPEs Business Finance Interactive Search is available for Kenyan based businesses only.
About the Youth Interactive Portal for Enterprise – YIPE

Since its founding in 2008, the Youth Interactive Portal for Enterprise has emerged as a highly valued source of quality content for both aspiring and operating entrepreneurs. The Portal was one of the winning case studies for the Society for New Communications Research 2009 Excellence in New Communications Awards in the Online Publishing – Technology Innovation category. In 2010, YIPE was named the Kenyan partner for the Global Cleantech Ideas competition which is the search for the world’s best social enterprises that proactively address environmental degradation.For more information, visit www.yipekenya.org and follow @yipeorg on Twitter.

YES Kenya and YIPE Terms of Reference (TOR) for Design of Website and Content Management accessible via net and mobile platforms

The Youth Entrepreneurship & Sustainability (YES Kenya) Network and the Youth Interactive Portal for Enterprise (YIPE) have embarked on a joint project aimed at Promoting the Culture of Entrepreneurship in Kenya.

To meet the challenge of achieving this ambitious project, the services of a skilled contractor is required to design a dynamic website and content management system and translate that onto a mobile platform that will meet YES Kenya and YIPE needs.

Expected end-results

Front end:

  • Creation of an eye-catching, easy to navigate website and mobile portal, that is robust and searchable, whilst offering several interactive features to the users.
  • The website should be accessible to low-bandwidth users and should not require downloading of any specific fonts or programme for complete user experience. The mobile platform should be accessible to low-end devices.

Back end:

  • Creation of a robust and intuitive customized Content Management System based on project requirements. The CMS should allow YES Kenya and YIPE to manage and update the website easily through sub-administrators who are not expected to have any special technical knowledge.
  • YES Kenya and YIPE should be able to update all the pages and sections remotely but securely through the online CMS without requiring any external HTML editor or downloading of software.
  • The website (net and mobile) should be database-driven / modular so that it can handle all the existing information and be able to handle new documents that would get uploaded on it on a daily basis.
  • The website should be able to integrate multimedia

Overall:

  • The website should be secure and bug-free.
  • The data should be held in a secure environment. It should be possible to regularly back-up the entire database and restore all the data in case of any errors.
  • The website should conform to major web-standards so that the website and its content can easily be indexed by major search engines and is accessible by different browsers.

Requirements

The requirements although not exclusive, will include:

  • Proven track record of use in web and mobile development. Applicants will have to provide a minimum of three (3) links and references for sites they have developed in the last two (2) years.

Applications

Your application should include, but is not limited to:

  • A capability statement.
  • Your CV – maximum of 2 pages
  • A list of at least three (3) web and mobile site links and references. The references should be organisations/ individuals that have contracted the applicant within the last 2 years.

Please submit electronic applications by Friday November 26th 2010 to info@yipekenya.org with the subject heading Application for web and mobile development assignment.

Youth entrepreneurs are encouraged to apply.

About YES Kenya

Youth Entrepreneurship & Sustainability(YES Kenya) Network is a national youth multi-stakeholder network involved in promoting youth  entrepreneurship and employment in Kenya and committed to the global call of creating sustainable livelihoods for Youth. For more information, visit www.yeskenya.org/new

About the Youth Interactive Portal for Enterprise (YIPE)

The Youth Interactive Portal for Enterprise (YIPE) is a new media social enterprise that provides free business information and resources to Kenyan youth entrepreneurs. For more information, visit www.yipekenya.org, and follow @yipeorg on Twitter.