Remarks on the Occasion of the Senior Management Federal and Regional Micro and Small Enterprises Development Agencies (FeMSEDA & ReMSEDA) Intrapreneurship Training Workshop

Dec 15, 2014

Remarks by UNDP Resident Representative

Eugene Owusu

UNDP Resident Representative

Ethiopia

Mr Gebremeskel Challa, Director General at the Federal Micro and Small Enterprises Development Agency,

Senior managers and experts from federal and regional government agencies,

Colleagues from the UN and EMPRETEC Ghana,

Distinguished participants,

 

I am delighted to join you today at the start of this first training on entrepreneurship and leadership which has been tailored for this important audience: our Government partners from Federal and Regional Micro and Small Enterprises Development Agencies who are working with UNDP to implement our flagship Entrepreneurship Development Programme and ensure its successes on the ground, here in Addis Ababa and all across Ethiopia.

 

We are fortunate to have with us today such a distinguished and important group who are at the frontline of supporting enterprises. After this morning, each will proceed to receive a separate training.

 

A special thanks to Ato Desalegne Ambaw, the State Minister of the Ministry of Urban Development and construction, and Ato Gebremeskel Challa, Director General of FeMSEDA, for attending this training and for bringing along their top managers.

 

The training you will receive will focus on helping you improve the assistance your agencies provide to entrepreneurs.  More than that, it will also provide you with critical leadership and managerial skills; and skills that I hope you will find useful in your personal lives.

 

The objectives of the entrepreneurship and leadership training you will receive is not only meant to sensitize you to an entrepreneurial way of thinking. It is my understanding that from this group we will be selecting potential business development advisers who will become part of our growing pool of business advisors who can support and mentor aspiring and existing entrepreneurs to turn their ideas into successful businesses; and in doing so help to generate jobs that the country needs so much at this time.

 

I am also particularly delighted to learn that in parallel with training FeMSEDA and ReMSEDA, there is also training for medium sized enterprises drawn from different sectors but specifically product processing, textile industries, etc.

 

We are privileged to have with policymakers, technical experts and entrepreneurs.

 

If together we can help turn more businesses plans into realities, we will help Ethiopia achieve its ambition to become a middle income country by 2025.

 

2025 may seem far off, but it is only ten years away. By promoting entrepreneurship development, all of you here can ensure the take-off of the private sector in Ethiopia, providing an engine of growth for years to come.

 

UNDP is committed to supporting the private sector in Ethiopia fulfill its potential. That is why we worked with the Ministry of Urban Development and Construction to establish the Entrepreneurship Development Programme.

 

The programme has three main aims:

 

-         First, to build the national capacity to provide sustainable support for entrepreneurs and small, micro, and medium enterprises. To date, our trainings have benefited some 10,000 people, nearly 40 percent of whom are women.

 

 

-         Second, to guide and mentor potential entrepreneurs, particularly young people and women, and support their business start-ups.

 

 

-         Third, to provide micro, small and medium enterprises with ongoing businesses advice counselling beyond the start-up phase, so in order to increase their competitiveness and profitability.

 

Leading these efforts is the Entrepreneurship Development Centre, which continues to provide graduates of our training with business development advisory support, covering issues like managing production lines and marketing.

 

So far, about 1,000 micro, small and medium business owners have used these services support to improve their business operations. It is noteworthy that the programme has trained over 200 people to work as business development service advisors.

 

But this is only the beginning. Our vision for this programme is bold, to match Ethiopia’s  bold and ambitious development vision.

 

We don’t believe it is enough just to build micro and small enterprises. We want to help them – we want to see you help them – turn small businesses into medium and large enterprises which will create thousands of decent jobs across the country.

 

This is not wishful thinking. It is grounded in a solid analysis of the potential Ethiopia has and its recent history of robust growth, poverty reduction, and gains in human development. Ethiopia’s economic growth has remained buoyant, registering around 10 per cent growth per year over the last decade. We see FDI supporting new ventures and industries form textiles and horticulture to light manufacturing and agriculture.

 

Ethiopia also recently entered into the international capital market, issuing a $ one billion bond which was heavily subscribed to – another sign of international commitment to Ethiopia’s development.

 

Still, challenges remain. The World Bank Report on ‘Doing Business’ in 2014 states that, on understanding regulations for small and medium-sized enterprises, Ethiopia ranks 132nd out of 189 economies.

 

Important progress continues to be registered in making it easier for businesses to open and operate in Ethiopia. But more needs to be done to streamline processes and regulations for businesses to get off the ground; to expand access to credit and financial services for the private sector; to improve logistics for importing and exporting goods; and to strengthen legal frameworks and make business operations predictable, transparent, and widely understood.

 

A conducive policy and regulatory environment that creates space and positive incentives for the emergence of a vibrant private sector will in turn support skilled entrepreneurs to create jobs, boost wealth, and help reduce poverty. This is an imperative here in Ethiopia to provide a solid foundation for future growth and a robust tax base which generates revenues that can in turn be used to invest in areas like education, health, and social welfare.

 

Around the world, entrepreneurs are starting social media companies; sending rockets into space; and entrepreneurs coming up with new ways of building, buying, sharing, and trading goods.

 

Working together, we can place Ethiopian entrepreneurs on the map.

 

Working together, we can foster the emergence of a productive and competitive private sector in Ethiopia.

 

Working together, we can channel the creativity and drive of existing and aspiring entrepreneurs, particularly youth and women, to drive growth and tackle the challenge of unemployment in Ethiopia.

 

I wish you all a very successful training, and I hope that you will take the important lessons you learn this week and use them in your day-to-day work as you support the growth of micro and small enterprises in Ethiopia.

 

                       **********

 

 

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