ENTERPRISING Kenyans in the Diaspora stand a chance to receive US$ 50,000 (Approximately Kenya Shillings 4.5 million) in matching grants from the just concluded African Diaspora Marketplace business plan competition. In addition, winners would receive technical assistance and other support services.

The African Diaspora Marketplace (ADM) is a brainchild of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) which has collaborated with the international money transfer giant Western Union to launch the third round of the competition.

The project was established in 2009 and generally seeks to promote sustainable economic growth and job creation in Africa through partnerships with enterprising people who have demonstrable connections to the continent.  Or people who have innovative and high impact business start-ups in Africa.

ADM has awarded 34 eligible Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) with matching grants to start or expand their operations in sub Saharan Africa, Libya and Tunisia.  Those who win the grants work closely with ADM managers to identify and address their specific business challenges.

An additional 850 Africa-based businesses have participated in business training and access to finance events through ADM. These events also highlight the business opportunities with the highest chances of success as well as the pitfalls to avoid in doing business with Africa.

As Africa Rising becomes a reality, focus will be on key issues such as the time it takes to register a new business in a given African country, the level of corruption as measured by international index, security, inflation, economic and political stability. These are the factors that determine business predictability without which investment and risk taking would be like playing the Russian roulette at the casino.

Africa Diaspora Marketplace acts like a bridge that connects lenders and investors with entrepreneurs across Africa. The organization also provides industry, trade and technology information to support business growth and innovation.

The USAID is a federal government program whose core objective is promotion of US interests abroad through projects that seek to end extreme poverty, hunger, malnutrition, political oppression and exclusion across the globe.

As people of African origin, the Diaspora community with their connections back home, their language and multi-cultural skills would be perfect door openers and valuable assets in advancing security and prosperity in Africa for the current and future generations.

For green card holders and naturalized US citizens of Kenyan origin, the African Diaspora Marketplace offers a unique opportunity to give back to the community that sacrificed so much to educate you in your formative years and the community that shared with you the American Dream.

By Leonard Njoroge, Diaspora Messenger Contributor, Email: [email protected]

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