MESH: The first online community for entrepreneurs in the informal economy

Our programs

Connecting Kenyan entrepreneurs to information, peers, role models, and resources to empower them to build thriving small businesses


Why this program?

  • Over one million young people enter the Kenyan job market each year, but 95% of them will never find formal employment. 
  • Today, 100% of 15-24-year-olds in Kenya report that they’re having to earn some money to help cover or supplement their costs, up from just 47% in 2016.
  • These young people are not just working in the informal sector; three million of them run micro-businesses of their own, often creating jobs for others.
  • This program equips these young entrepreneurs with business, financial, and digital skills to empower them to build more resilient businesses that are better positioned for growth.

Program overview

Almost a third of 15- to 24-year-olds in Kenya run businesses—selling snacks, growing vegetables, or running dukas (convenience stores) that meet the day-to-day needs of many underserved households across the country. Working young Kenyans are adding $539 million to the economy every month.

Despite young Kenyans’ reliance on and contribution to the informal economy, the education system does little to equip them for it. Schools still prepare young people for a formal working world that is simply unavailable to them. There is an acute need to provide these young people with the skills to build better businesses, manage their money, grow their success, and give back to their families and communities. With adequate guidance, these young entrepreneurs can become the stabilized bedrock of Kenya’s informal sector that many aspire to be. 

To empower these young people to build thriving small businesses, Strive Community has partnered with MESH, the first online community for entrepreneurs in the informal economy. Part of the Shujaaz Inc network of social ventures, MESH combines business skills programs with peer-to-peer networking and role-model mentoring. As part of the MESH community, members can access an extensive library of peer training videos and connect with peers and mentors with complementary skills or interests.

Strive Community funding will support the development and growth of the MESH platform and the creation of training tools currently unavailable to young entrepreneurs through traditional education pathways.


About MESH

MESH is the first online community for young entrepreneurs in Kenya’s informal economy. MESH offers young people:

  • Access to tailored business tools, training, a peer network, and mentorship;
  • Seamless access to financial services, capital, and formal sector opportunities;
  • Control over their livelihoods and growth prospects; and
  • Autonomy, social capital, and personal validation.

Launched in 2021, the platform is already thriving. Today, MESH has more than 150,000 members who are logging in to connect, learn, share tips, access new opportunities, and to start up and scale their businesses. The MESH app is available for free through Google Play or on

About Shujaaz Inc

Two-time Emmy Award-winning network of social ventures Shujaaz Inc launched in 2009 with a youth-facing multimedia brand. Their namesake first venture, “Shujaaz,” follows the story of a 19-year-old radio DJ and influencer living in the outskirts of Nairobi. The platform, which evolved from a comic book, brings young people together to talk about their experiences and the challenges they face. More than a decade on, Shujaaz (which means “hero”) reaches 9.5 million 15- to 24-year-olds—71% of young Kenyans and 15% of young Tanzanians.

I have been on MESH for more than two years and so far the journey has been good. In terms of business, I have better strategies on how to handle business, like record keeping, savings, customer retention, customer feedback, and many more. Through posting my hustle daily, I have also gotten a lot of customers. I can't wait to see what the future holds for me on MESH.


MESH small business user

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Implementation partners

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