ENTERPRISE54 – 23-year old upcoming Kenyan designer, Arnold Muriithi has just won for himself KShs 150,000 ($1,500) in the ‘Vijana na equity: Design your Destiny’ competition staged by Equity bank. He also got an all-expenses paid invitation to attend this year’s Hub of Africa Fashion Week in Ethiopia. Arnold emerged as the best of a
ENTERPRISE54 – 23-year old upcoming Kenyan designer, Arnold Muriithi has just won for himself KShs 150,000 ($1,500) in the ‘Vijana na equity: Design your Destiny’ competition staged by Equity bank. He also got an all-expenses paid invitation to attend this year’s Hub of Africa Fashion Week in Ethiopia.
Arnold emerged as the best of a 40-man graduating set that successfully underwent a 30-hour comprehensive financial training program custom designed to provide support for entrepreneurs in the creative sector. The young designers, who were picked out of 193 entrants in an online competition, will benefit from a KShs 100 million seed fund set up by Equity Bank for the cause.
The competition is an offshoot of a free financial education and entrepreneurship initiative being powered by a partnership between Equity Group Foundation and the Mastercard Foundation. The programme, known as FiKA (Financial Knowledge for Africa) is aimed at empowering youth and women with the knowledge, skills, and attitudes they will need to adopt good financial management practices to ultimately transform their lives and livelihoods. FiKA is giving the beneficiaries a pathway to greater financial access (financial literacy training and access to savings and loans services) as well as providing financial advisory services to help develop, strengthen, and grow participants’ micro-enterprises.
Arnold is not new to fashion design contest wins – he was 2014 Fashion Designer of the year at the Kenyatta University where he just concluded his Bachelor of Science degree in Fashion Design and Marketing. He was also the 2nd place Emerging student fashion Designer at the Kenya Fashion Awards in August 2014.
Other winners in the competition include Sheila Omondi, Latif Muqqadam and Chebet Lesan who emerged as first, second and third runners’ respectively; Kevin Ouma and Chebet Lesan also won the most promising designer awards.
Equity Group CEO James Mwangi said at the graduation ceremony, that the clothing and textile industry holds enormous potential and value for Kenyans in creating employment and supporting tourism. He noted that the financial management skills learned by the designers has sufficiently equipped them to launch their careers in the lucrative fashion design field. Kenya’s local fashion design and apparel retail market is estimated at more than US$330m a year, according to the Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM).
Mr. Mwangi also stated that Equity bank will continue to support fashion designers and other creative arts and innovation fronts through Vijana na Equity.
The designers with promising work will be legible for internships in some of the leading fashion design houses in Nairobi. The leading contestants will also receive business development mentorship support from the Equity Investment Bank portfolio managers.
Also notably present at the event, was the Kenya chairperson of the Association of Fashion Designers, Sally Karago.
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