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STH Receives Grant for Accelerating Youth Entrepreneurship and Innovation for Sustainable Tourism in Africa Project


The School of Tourism and Hospitality is pleased to announce the award of the phase two grant for the project; Accelerating Youth Entrepreneurship and Innovation for Sustainable Tourism in Africa, a multi-partner project funded by the British Council under the Innovation for African Universities program. The project is being implemented in Kenya, Ghana and South Africa by the University of Brighton (UK), Strathmore University (KE), University of Ghana, Sustainable Travel and Tourism Agenda (KE) and Africa Tourism Partners (SA).

It aims to foster pathways for developing innovative mentorship programs in tourism for supporting young opportunistic entrepreneurship interventions, which are climate friendly and digitally oriented for sustainable tourism development in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Africa has a bulging youthful population that is either unemployed, under employed or lacking capacity to grow. A situational study leading to the project showed high unemployment rates among youth in Sub-Saharan Africa and most African countries relied on tourism as an important sector for creating jobs. However, the tourism value chains of Kenya, Ghana and South Africa are more advantageous for creating employment for low skilled youth than the high skilled youth. This constituted a disadvantage for the tourism graduates who are regarded as a highly skilled workforce. Consequently, this has resulted in tourism graduates being forced to seek employment in jobs that are below their skill set or fail to gain employment all together. Additionally, it was also identified that most tourism students at universities are unlikely to start a business after they graduate, but if barriers were addressed, they may.

The study concluded that tourism graduates are likely to start and grow an innovative (social) enterprise if they were provided with access to mentorship programs that bridged curriculum gaps and provided them with the additional support needed to overcome barriers. The project, therefore, has 4 main objectives:

  1. To promote (social) entrepreneurship and innovative thinking among tourism students
  2. To leverage on digital platforms where tourism students can access tools and knowledge to develop skills and strategic partnerships that they need for innovative and sustainable (social) entrepreneurship
  3. To enhance knowledge exchange and peer-to-peer learning between higher learning institutions, ecosystem entrepreneurship players, and students from Kenya, Ghana, South Africa and the UK.
  4. To lobby and advocate for favourable policy environment for young entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs in tourism

In phase 2 of the project, 15 students from each of the partner countries – Kenya, Ghana and South Africa – will participate in a program where they will receive entrepreneurship and innovation coaching to challenge and inspire them to become a high-impact entrepreneurs and innovators in the tourism industry.

The School of Tourism and Hospitality has successfully recruited 15 students to participate in the fellowship which begun on 1st February 2022. By the end of the fellowship, the students will be expected to have their business ideas ready to launch or scale and they will have the opportunity to compete for start-up funding against other students from Ghana and South Africa. They will also participate in the Africa Youth in Tourism Innovation Summit as they develop their businesses.

This project, whose lead is Dr. David Chiawo, Dean at School of Tourism and Hospitality (STH), is critical for the faculty in continuing to enhance employability and business development skills among our students. This is a step towards the establishment of a tourism innovation centre to focus on skills enhancement and tourism business development for the youth.