Entrepreneurship Development Programme: Regional Rolling-Out to Oromia, Amhara, Tigray, SNNPR
The Entrepreneurship Development Programme (EDP) is now in the northern city of Mekele, Tigray region, at the end of a a roll out to the region initiative that has witnessed over 400 entrepreneurs taking part in workshops drawn from the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples' Region (SNNPR), Oromia, and Amhara regions this month.
The new Entrepreneurship skills and business development services programme launched this year by Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn is now being rolled out to small, medium and micro entrepreneurs in starting in SNNPR, followed closely by Oromia, Amhara and Tigray throughout the month of August 2013.
"The national Growth and Transformation Plan clearly outlines the need to develop Small, and Micro Enterprises (SMEs), all of which play vital roles in job creation and economic empowerment, particularly among youth and women," Vice President of Tigray Region, H.E. Beyene Mekeru noted. He underlined that, "In line with this, the Entrepreneurship Development Programme carries an overall objective to bring about transformational change that can unleash maximum potentials of MSEs by 2015."
In the Amhara Region capital of Bahir Dar, Mr Assefa Belay Mulaw, Director of the Strategic Leadership Support Directorate at the Amhara National Regional State Office of the President underlined that focusing on the role of Micro and Small Enterprises play in pushing forward Ethiopia’s Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP), was crucial given that majority of Ethiopia’s population is employed in the sector.
'Our country is embarked on a renaissance journey to become a middle income country' remarked Mr. Milkesa Jagema Member of Oromia Regional State Council said during the opening ceremony in Adama, Oromia Region on Monday 12th August 2013. Mr. Milkesa Jagema is also Director General of Oromia Micro and Small Enterprise (MSEs) Development Agency. He reflected that,'We are trying to move from agriculture and into an industrial economy, and extensive efforts are set into expanding the MSEs which are known to play a great role.'
Participants in Adama represented a broad spectrum of established entrepreneurs, and also university and TVET professionals upon whom the Government of Ethiopia has bestowed a responsibility to craft an important segment of skilled labour that continues to emerge from institutes of higher learning, in a bid to birth job creators as opposed to job seekers.
'Ethiopia is on track to meet the MDGs and has also earned global recognition as one of the fastest growing non-oil producing economies.' said UNDP Country Director Ms. Bettina Woll, adding 'Moreover, ‘[it] has further translated its commitment to a green economy by drafting Africa’s first national climate resilient green economy strategy and setting up a corresponding financing mechanism.’
The enthusiasim and hope for the country's future was shared by many. ‘Going by recent trends, the question is not whether Ethiopia will attain economic prosperity, it certainly will ! ’ were just some of the motivational words echoed during the official launch in Hawassa, the first stop in this regional roll out exercise.
The launch in Hawassa, the capital city of the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples’ Region attracted over 100 participants, representing the more than 50 ethnic group living in the region, and drawn from university students, small, micro and medium business owners, representatives from the regional chamber of commerce, microfinance institutions, sectoral associations and TVET agencies.
Applauding the ‘vibrant and business-oriented population’ of SNNPR, H.E. Annesa Milko, Advisor to the President of SNNPR, also highlighted the timeliness of the training and said this will help increase the contributions of people in region to the already to the national on-going efforts to achieve sustainable development through the national Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP 2010/11 – 2014/15).
Acknowledging the support of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) that enabled the launch of the Entrepreneurship Development Programme in February 2013, H.E. Ato Milko underscored the important nature of disseminating entrepreneurial knowledge, given the national GTP calls for such action to be set in motion by 2015.
Mr. Gebre-Meskel Challa, Director General at the Federal Micro and Small Enterprises Agency (FeMSEDA) also commenting on desired rapid economic growth of the country said that this initiative ‘will act as a milestone of [Ethiopia’s] goals’ to achieve economic growth through ‘transformation of the Micro and Small Enterprises, which will enhance vibrant and private sector via wealth creation, technological innovation and expansion of employment opportunities’.
‘Ethiopia has chosen to make the right investments in boosting its entrepreneurial base and UNDP office has aligned itself to fully support this initiative’, assured Mr. Samuel Bwalya, UNDP Ethiopia Country Director. He referred to previous UNDP engagements such as in Local Economic Development (LED) that have already helped many regions in Ethiopia to strengthen public-private partnerships with more than 15,000 people having acquired employment opportunities.
Since the launch of the Entrepreneurship Development Programme in Addis Ababa by H.E. Prime Minister Haile Mariam Desalegn in February 2013, the Entrepreneurship Development Center (inaugurated by H.E. Minister Haile Mekuria of the Ministry of Urban Development and Construction) has organized 12 training workshops through which over four hundred and fifty entrepreneurs from Addis Ababa and the regions have participated, with active inclusion of women and youth entrepreneurs. The Entrepreneurship Development Centre (EDC), based in Addis Ababa, is working with the United Nations Development Programme to roll-out entrepreneurship training into regions across Ethiopia, hence this second rolling-out exercise in Bahir Dar, Amhara region.
The rolling-out exercise combines classroom knowledge-sharing and experimentation delivered through the Entrepreneurship Training Workshop (ETW), combined with hands-on Business Advisory Services (BDS) that are intended to consolidate knowledge thus acquired.
Overall, the EDC aims to reach 600,000 entrepreneurs particularly women and youth and also facilitate the establishment of 200,000 Micro and Small Enterprises (MSEs) by 2015. Moreover, it is hoped that through this training, additional employment opportunities will develop both within existing enterprises, and newly created ones; and endeavour that will greatly compliment initiated efforts to make Ethiopia a middle income, green-resilient economy by 2025. The UNDP is committed to continue supporting Ethiopia achieve both the international Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) the national Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP, as Mr. Bwalya disclosed saying ‘I would like to emphasize that the UNDP is committed to supporting Ethiopia reach set goals for a sustainable, green and resilient economy in which every citizen is allocated a responsibility, but also capacitated well-enough to operate at maximum standards’.