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A two day forum that focused on how small and medium businesses owned by women and youth-owned could thrive was held by the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) and the UK Department for International Development (DFID).
The UNOPS Possibilities Forum or also known as “UP” Forum was attended by 100 local entrepreneurs including 20 women and 60 young business owners.
“We developed the UP Forum in recognition that working to build the capacity of small and medium enterprises, as well as women- and youth-owned businesses, is a cornerstone of a strong local economy,” said Patricia Moser, UNOPS Procurement Director. She further underlined that the success of small and medium businesses means that a country is headed in the right direction by having inclusive economic growth.
Besides the discussions, the two day event also included a training session on sustainable procurement by representatives from UNOPS and DFID.
Building the capacity of women- and youth-owned businesses helps foster their economic and social futures,” said Worknesh Mekonnen, Country Director of UNOPS Ethiopia.
Among the participants was Fasil Berhanu who owns a stationery business. He pointed out that the UP forum as well as other similar forums can help inspire future generations of Ethiopian business owners and entrepreneurs. “The challenges we share here will be lessons learned for the future; this way we can grow together,” he pointed out.
During the Forum, UNOPS launched its new website called Possibilities Portal, a platform reserved for small and medium owners as a tool designed to give them greater visibility about the opportunities in the development sector.
“The two day event proved very successful in educating DFID on the challenges local businesses face and people were already creating local business networks,” said Nick Hyde, Senior Procurement and Commercial Manager at DFID Ethiopia. The need to empower women and people with disabilities was also one of the issues that were underlined as well as the importance of creating a strong network between businesses.