The Effectiveness of the Metro AgriFood Living Lab for Gender Inclusive Youth Entrepreneurship Development in Kenya

The world’s urban population will surpass its rural population by 2030. In order to provide food to the growing cities, an innovative and inclusive approach for agri-food entrepreneurs will be necessary. This presents an important opportunity for youth, whose unemployment rate surpasses that of adults by 25%.

The first phase of this project (June 2015-March 2017), implemented by the Metro AgriFood Living Lab, tested the effectiveness of various interventions, including training and business counselling, to actively engage Kenya’s youth in profitable agri-businesses. Three components were identified for the youth entrepreneurship model: training, mentoring, and funding. This second phase will integrate rigorous research design to test these components individually and in combination. The project seeks to answer two fundamental research questions: what works to successfully build youth-led businesses in the agriculture sector; and what is the added value of training, mentoring, and funding in building successful youth-led businesses. Other key research topics will include gender barriers and opportunities for youth entrepreneurship and the role of the external environment, including government policies.

The project increases the number of participants from 210 to 1,200 and expands the range of agribusinesses beyond poultry and fisheries. Gender will be integrated throughout the project cycle from the selection of participants to the evaluation of outcomes. Youth participating in the program are expected to boost their sales, expand their businesses, and improve their livelihoods. This growth is expected to benefit an additional 15,000 youth as employees, suppliers, and peer mentors in the following 24 months. The financing module is also expected to catalyze private investment into early-stage enterprises.

This project is funded through the Cultivate Africa’s Future Fund (CultiAF), a joint program of IDRC and the Australian International Food Security Research Centre of the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research. CultiAF supports research to achieve long-term food security in eastern and southern Africa.

Project ID


Project status



24 months

Total funding

CA$ 840,900




Cultivate Africa’s Future

Project Leader

Francis Wambalaba


United States International University

Institution Country