Ethiopia aims to create new generation of entrepreneurs
Damenech Zewudie decided it was time to strike out on her own after 33 years working in secretarial and administrative roles for various employers in Addis Ababa.
By James Jeffrey
Now she is the proud owner of a two-month-old business selling injera, the large, thin pancake-like staple which is the base of almost every Ethiopian meal.
“I never used to think about owning a business,” Ms Damenech says. “Then I saw how no-one was selling injera where I live – so I took a chance.”
Ms Damenech, who is in her 50s, achieved her late start in entrepreneurship after taking part in a state-run training and support scheme called the Entrepreneurship Development Programme (EDP).
The programme is provided for free, and will eventually be available throughout the whole country.
Although it doesn’t offer any financial support, so far it has provided training and advice to 1,000 people in four of Ethiopia’s 11 regions.
Its very ambitious goal is to have enabled 200,000 Ethiopians – particularly young adults and women – to acquire or improve entrepreneurial skills and knowledge by the end of 2015.
“We are working towards unleashing a transformational change through tapping into the creativity and ambition of existing and aspiring Ethiopian entrepreneurs,” says Etalem Engeda who leads the government agency looking after the EDP scheme.
Following the initial workshops, advisers visit the participants to conduct business health checks throughout the year. And at any point the entrepreneurs can reach out for advice and assistance. Read More