The young people who attend the Enterprising Ethiopia
programme are selected on three criteria.
They must be unemployed, they must have achieved reasonable grades at
school and they must be motivated and demonstrate a willingness to consider
becoming involved in the creation of a new small business. Some will have gone on from school to attend
a TVET (Technical and Vocational College) but unemployment among TVET graduates
tends to be high.
They are selected by the city manager in each of the places
in which Alchemy World operates (Addis Ababa, Bahir Dar, Mekele, Harar and
Hawasa) who works closely with other organisations such as local youth
associations, ICT community centres and others.
The Enterprising Ethiopia training is ‘Action Learning’, the
young people are fully involved as participants in workshops and activities,
not simply passive recipients of lectures – the ‘chalk and talk’ kind of
training which requires little involvement by the students. The New Venture Creation programme extends
over a period of six months and participants are required to undertake
activities in between the different workshops that are part of the project.
The programme is not just a list of stand-alone workshops
but a series of interventions which extends to supporting young people, after
the training, in setting up and developing a growth business through an
incubation service and/or self-help group which can also provide support for
those seeking employment rather than creating a business. This requires that
Alchemy World commits itself to each city for a period of years while a local
‘eco-system’ of entrepreneurs and business people develops who, ultimately,
will take over the programmes in that area.
This approach to entrepreneurship training was first
developed and used by a consortium of universities in the UK called ‘West
Focus’ and draws on the work of David Stokes, Emeritus Professor of
Entrepreneurship at Kingston University, London, and Stephen Whaley, Alchemy’s
Programme Director, who was previously Director of Knowledge Transfer and
Entrepreneurship at the University of Westminster, London.
It is not uncommon in Ethiopia for NGOs (Non Governmental
Organisations) to offer training workshops and to pay the participants to attend.
Alchemy World does not subscribe to the idea of paying attendees for two
reasons; firstly because we are interested in people who are motivated to
attend and learn – not those who are only there for the money and, secondly,
because we depend on donations and have to be very careful with money.
Alchemy World does not want to be an NGO that works entirely
on its own so efforts are always made to work in partnership with government
agencies, youth associations, ICT community centres, educational institutions
and other organisations to maximise the impact of our work and to keep down