Canada provides 5.8 Million USD in Grant to Support Ethiopia’s Women Entrepreneurs

Apr 10, 2014

30 April 2014/Addis Ababa - Ambassador of Canada to Ethiopia H.E. David Usher and UNDP Resident Representative Eugene Owusu were on hand to present certificates to graduates of an entrepreneurship training workshop for women. They are joined by EDC CEO Etalem Engeda.

Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD) has signed a 5.8 million USD grant (6.5 million Canadian dollar) with UNDP Ethiopia to build the entrepreneurial capacity of around twenty-five thousand Ethiopian women and female youth.

The support will be provided through an Entrepreneurship Development Programme (EDP), which was officially launched by Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn in early 2013. The EDP seeks to support entrepreneurship development and job creation in the country by increasing the competitiveness and profitability of the Ethiopia’s micro and small enterprises (MSEs), especially those owned by women and youth.

“Tapping into the innovative drive of entrepreneurs, particularly women and youth, is the cornerstone of UNDP’s strategy to help Ethiopia unleash the potential of the private sector to drive the country’s development agenda forward,” said Eugene Owusu, UNDP Ethiopia Resident Representative. “We are delighted to have this partnership with the Government of Canada”.
The partnership with Canada will help to strengthen the support targeted towards women’s economic empowerment through entrepreneurship training and access to customized business development service.

Female entrepreneurs in Ethiopia face a number of challenges including accessing resources such as land, education, and effective business networks. In the rural areas, women face further challenges when looking for employment in the formal sector, even though they have acquired technical skills through vocational training. Many women who do find formal jobs tend to be underemployed. According to the 2013 National Labor-force Survey, national figures for employment at a managerial level puts women’s participation at five times less than that of their male counterparts while women make up the majority of those holding low end occupations. The story is different when it comes to the informal sector which accounts for 23.1% of all working women while only 14.7 % of working men are drawn into this sector.

“Canada is proud to help create jobs by promoting the growth of small businesses in Ethiopia, especially businesses owned by women,” said Christian Paradis, Canadian Minister of International Development and La Francophonie. “By giving businesses market access, and by encouraging investment, innovation, training, and trade, we stimulate economic growth in developing countries, and we contribute to reducing poverty.

The Entrepreneurship Development Programme supports Ethiopia to address these bottlenecks by not only providing women with vocational skills but also building their knowledge base, ambitions in business, and encouraging self-employment.

More specifically, through its main interventions, the project is expected to contribute in improving the profitability and competitiveness of up to 35,000 small and micro enterprises; create up to 200,000 new jobs generated by small and micro enterprises; increasing accessibility of business development services in Ethiopia through the establishment of five entrepreneurship development centers; and to foster better collaboration between the public and private sector in addressing business constraints.

Since the launch of the EDP in 2013, the Entrepreneurship Development Centre has rolled out the programme to four regions, provided trainings for 1,154 entrepreneurs (356 of whom were women), while 570 entrepreneurs and MSEs in Addis Ababa and regions have accessed Business Development Support (BDS). The EDP supports the capacity development of Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET), public universities, and Centres of Excellence for Entrepreneurship which will provide customized entrepreneurship development training to university students, with a specific focus on female students.

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