An Entrepreneurship Development Center set up by the Ministry of Urban Development and Construction (MoUDC) and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) was inaugurated on Monday at Nega Mall in the Kazanchis area.
“This center will contribute a lot to encourage and support upcoming small businesses. We hope that young entrepreneurs will take full advantage of this opportunity,” said Eugene Owusu, UNDP Resident Representative, at the occasion.
The Entrepreneurship Development Center was established as part of an Entrepreneurship Development Program launched by Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn on February 19th. The aim of the program is to unleash a transformational change by tapping into the creativity and drive of existing and aspiring Ethiopian entrepreneurs to accelerate the country’s economic growth, create jobs and wealth to alleviate poverty.
The program is expected to enhance Micro and Small-scale Enterprises (MSEs) by 2015 through entrepreneurial-skills training and the provision of a comprehensive range of business advisory services.
“The Center will help accomplish the aim of the program which is to support young business people, especially women,” said Owusu. The center, which is managed by the Federal Micro and Small Enterprises Development Agency (FeMSEDA), has already trained over 120 people and is currently training many more, mostly women.
At the inauguration, women entrepreneurs were invited to have an open discussion with the Minister of Urban Development and Construction, Mekuria Haile, and Eugene Owusu, UNDP Resident Representative, among others. During the discussion, most participants expressed their appreciation and excitement in the opening of the center.
Among the challenges discussed, one that was considered a big issue for small businesses was financing. Most of the women that participated in the open discussion explained that the problem does not lie in having good and sellable ideas or set of skills, but in lack of financing and shortage of appropriate finance-providing institutions.
The Entrepreneurship Development Program plans to establish 200,000 MSEs by the year 2015 and aims to provide training for 600,000 people. It was stated that the whole budget for the program is USD 26 million and the program will run for three years.