American pledges to market local traders

A leading American industrialist has pledged to assist budding Kenyan entrepreneurs and innovators by marketing them in the US.

Mr Stephen McConnell, the US President’s Ambassador for Global Entrepreneurship (Page), also said he would help beneficiaries to get funding to advance their businesses.

“When we go back home, we’ll go to different states and tell our investors the good stories of Kenyan entrepreneurs,” said Mr McConnell, who spoke on the sidelines of discussions with local entrepreneurs at the home of Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero on Thursday.

Several foreign investors had joined him for the discussion. They are here to attend the Global Entrepreneurship Summit, which kicked off on Friday at the KICC in Nairobi and at the UN Environmental Programme headquarters in Gigiri. Mr McConnell described Kenya as ideal for investment and said he expects more foreign institutions to start seeking the opportunities available.

“Kenyan entrepreneurs have inspired me with their diverse ideas and we will keep on encouraging them,” he said.

The American industrialist is the co-founder of American Online (AOL), a multinational corporation based in New York. He served as the company’s CEO and chairman before he retired.

His wife, Ms Jean Case, who is the CEO of the Case Foundation, accompanied him for the Kenya trip. She said from what she had seen with young Kenyan business people, she was convinced they would eventually offer solutions that would tackle poverty.

Kenyan industrialists at the discussion included Mr Ayisi Makatiani, the managing partner and CEO of Fanisi Capital Ltd, which manages the Fanisi Venture Capital Fund for investing in East Africa.