Entrepreneurship has become a buzz word in this part of the world. Everybody is talking about it, there are events and conferences left, right, and center. But what is really coming out of all this hype? Crossways is one of the innovations by an entrepreneur for entrepreneurs. It is a transformational experience that equips young people with soft skills, job market exposure, and mentorship. We turn ideas into reality.

Here’s how it all began. Sometime back, Nisela Group got 14 amazing interns (who I will refer to as #TeamCrossways) of whom I had the honor to mentor in the development of Crossways Prototype. Here are 7 steps I took them through:

  1. A well thought through induction process! This was done both formally through a half day training and informally during the first week of work. Each intern knew his or her role and was supported to understand how to fulfill that role. #TeamCrossways bought into the vision, represented the Company well, and kept an open mind!
  2. Taught them to work with a contagious passion!  I kept my energy up, and approached tense situations with a sense of humor. Energy rubs off. As a result, #TeamCrossways, had a positive attitude towards work and were always highly energetic even when things were not looking bright.
  3. Set a friendly work environment! #TeamCrossways were given a free environment to play, eat, tell stories, take short breaks,and brainstorm solutions within their own teams. This kind of environment kept #TeamCrossways motivated, creative, and productive!
  4. Treated each intern as a very, very important person! As an entrepreneur I strove to establish a strong relationship by understanding their needs and personal working style. This is the feedback I got:“The entire work experience and all my colleagues were very inspirational.”
  5. Taught them to improvise. One of the first lessons #TeamCrossways learned was that they had to make do with little material resource. Having to share resources and improvise resulted in better teamwork, better time management, and higher productivity.
  6. Had them give feedback when and as needed.  Whenever there was a challenge with #TeamCrossways I would ask: “what is the real issue here?” We would then work out a solution together. Even when there was no obvious challenge, I would simply ask them what was working and what was not working for them. Every challenge was an opportunity to learn, to be better!
  7. Taught them to make ideas happen! #TeamCrossways was inspired to believe in my entrepreneurship idea and as a result in their own entrepreneurship ideas. One team member has been inspired to begin a dog rearing business, another to register his own Company, and another to work with children and young people. They were inspired by doing!

Nisela Group has targeted 200 young people who will go through the Crossways experience this year. We will harness time, energy, and creativity into realizing their highest potential. We are helping them discover the entrepreneur inside them!

Give us your thoughts on innovation and entrepreneurship. How can more young people be a part of this process? Follow @niselagroup on twitter. Email us on: info@niselagroup.co.ke.

Written by: Bernice Nderitu, Executive Director, Nisela Group Limited