Skip to main content

Clarena Amatha - MSc Enterprise and Entrepreneurship


Clarena Amatha is a Chevening Scholar on CEES’s Master of Enterprise and Entrepreneurship programme as part of a highly competitive international scholarship. Here in Leeds, Clarena is gaining invaluable enterprise knowledge and experience from the CEES team to help develop her business venture in her home community.  

Applying for scholarship to expand enterprise opportunities 

Clarena’s interest in environmental studies and community development began in her home country, Kenya. ‘In Kenya, we have many educated young people committed to study, but employment opportunities are limited,’ she explains. ‘People need to create work for themselves by identifying areas of need in different communities. I wanted to study outside Kenya so I could gain knowledge, learn skills and share creative business ideas to support young people in my home town.’ 

Clarena decided to apply for a Chevening scholarship in the UK and quickly identified the University of Leeds as her first choice for her studies. ‘Leeds struck me as a vibrant city with plenty of opportunities,’ says Clarena. ‘Through social media and the range of course modules on offer, it was clear Leeds University Business School (LUBS) was supportive both of its students and local businesses.’ 

Learning skills to develop a business venture 

‘It was semester one that excited me the most,’ Clarena says. ‘Studying enterprise and society took me back to my undergraduate degree, talking about social policies in a way I could relate to my situation back home. It really opened my mind about opportunities I can tap into with a clear entrepreneurial message I can share with my peers.’ 

Clarena also found the small business growth module a huge advantage for her own entrepreneurial venture. ‘I had the opportunity to work with a real business on their site and gain practical experience,’ she explains. ‘This was invaluable as I am a business CEO and founder myself – I have my own company, TransFarm Ventures Ltd, which transforms farming through sustainable practices. The agricultural sector plays a crucial role in reducing poverty in Kenya. At TransFarm Ventures Ltd, we aim to increase productivity on smallholder farms so we can improve business environments and food security, and create job opportunities – particularly for women and young people.’ 

Gaining financial knowledge through scholarship study 

‘At TransFarm Ventures Ltd, we use new technology to increase productivity, tackle climate change and improve global economic development,’ Clarena says. ‘The Chevening scholarship was a critical way for me to find out more about how to finance this. In the critical entrepreneurship module, we discussed the impact of an illegitimate business. I learnt how failing to formally register a business means you miss out on a wide range of opportunities, such as grants.’ 

‘Of course, registering a company officially costs money, which is also needed for tax payments and other commitments,’ Clarena adds. ‘In Kenya, we have informal businesses that provide employment, but we need capital to action our ideas. It was important for me to learn what happens to entrepreneurs who don’t have access to funds and to engage with a wider network, so we can see what we can do to provide communities with the right platforms for growth.’ 

Growing an entrepreneurial support network  

Building connections is one of the biggest benefits Clarena’s gained from her Chevening Scholarship at the University of Leeds. ‘The global perspective on enterprise module really showed me how I can take what I’m being taught in the UK back home to Kenya,’ she says. ‘Before coming to Leeds, I’d read so many online articles – but nothing compares to learning from the CEES team. I’m discovering so much about enterprise in the developing world and how we can support young entrepreneurs. For example, I’m find out how conscious consumers in the UK read ingredients carefully and care about their food packaging. I can take this knowledge back to my community for our own agricultural business growth.’ 

‘Chevening is a hugely competitive scholarship –  only 2% of applications are successful, so I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to study at the University of Leeds,’ concludes Clarena. ‘What’s really connected my Chevening scholarship here and my own business in Kenya is the feeling of belonging – I’m not doing this alone. Thanks to my time in CEES I have a huge network of support, and I want use that to empower my local community.’