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Unless We Discourage Tenderpreneurship, Our Economy Has Little Chance of Growing

We’ve had a lot of scandals in Kenya over the years, it might seem obvious that we ought to have learnt our lessons and avoided further scandals. However, billions of shillings continue to disappear unaccounted for every year.

If there is anything we can pick up from the scandals is that they are a result of the encouragement of tenderpreneurship in the country, making it seem like this is an easy way of becoming successful in Kenya. Our youth are dreaming of becoming tenderpreneurs rather than entrepreneurs. What we should be encouraging instead is entrepreneurship. It is what Kenya needs, especially now that we are rebuilding our economy.

Entrepreneurs create and develop easy-to-use solutions and innovative products that solve today’s problems. They deploy capital to create jobs, grow the economy and uplift standards of living.

Tenderpreneurs, on the other hand, scavenge on providing services and products to organizations, government agencies and businesses but using the solutions and products that entrepreneurs have developed. Tenderpreneurs steal capital thereby killing jobs, stunt the economy, and depress our standards of living.

The most recent, KEMSA scandal, reminds us that we need to encourage entrepreneurship and discourage tenderpreneurship in Kenya. As the Kenyan system encourages tenderpreneurship, it makes it difficult for entrepreneurs to thrive which is detrimental to our economy.

Try having a nice entrepreneurial idea, try starting a venture and you will witness a multitude of obstacles. Capital will be hard to come by, statutory approvals will take forever, regulatory discrimination and hostility. You will be convinced that the system is designed to make you fail.

For tenderpreneurs, the narrative is different. It is easier for them as tenders are given to those who are willing to give kickbacks. In most cases, the officials giving the tenders are the tenderpreneurs in disguise.

Entrepreneurship is a package; you’ll have to provide solutions, have an abled team working for you, have a strategy, and be almost perfect with the execution. Simply put, with entrepreneurship, you will gain knowledge which you will later pass on to others. Entrepreneurship caters for the future

We need to address obstacles to entrepreneurship as a national imperative, otherwise we shall continue to import toothpicks and pencils. We continue to look for quick ways to make money and as a result crippling our economy because new good ideas are not being nurtured.

The lack of an entrepreneurial spirit is one of the biggest problems dragging Kenya’s economy behind. Creating an entrepreneurial spirit starts with creating an environment that supports it rather than discourage it.

Young Kenyans are gifted and hardworking, they just need an enabling environment. There are a lot of ideas in Kenya that can help improve the economy, we just need to support these ideas.

Edwin H. Dande



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