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449 West African entrepreneurs trained in business start-up principles

449 potential and existing West African entrepreneurs participated in several “Start and Improve Your Business” (SYIB) training sessions during the first quarter of the year. Implemented by partner training institutions in each country, under the supervision of UNIDO and ILO’s International Training Centre (ITC-ILO), the trainings were to introduce entrepreneurs to best practices in business creation and management. By focusing on entrepreneurs from the priority regional value chains, this activity contributed to the WACOMP’s efforts to strengthen the technical capacity of mango, cassava, textile & garment and ICT MSMEs from the region.

The sessions covered areas such as business idea generation, starting a business, marketing, personnel, productivity, planning and costing. At the end of the training, the entrepreneurs acknowledged that they had learned a lot about entrepreneurship and the laws in force in their fields of activity. “The training really opened my eyes to the importance of developing an effective business plan. I can now review my business concept, staff management or integrate a marketing approach,” shares Nancy Obi, a food entrepreneur from Liberia. Participants also wished to be supported throughout the process of creating and managing businesses and training to improve the performance and growth of their businesses.

The training was also the final step in the process of certifying national trainers in the ITC-ILO SIYB methodology – a long and complex process that started in late 2020. After having facilitated all the training sessions, 30 trainers from the ECOWAS region and Mauritania were duly certified.

The national training institutions reassured WACOMP partners that the skills acquired will be used in mentoring and capacity building of entrepreneurs based in West Africa. For its part, UNIDO reaffirmed its full commitment to support entrepreneurs in the implementation of the WACOMP, to develop partnerships and to continue exchanges beyond the Programme.