2.1.1 Transform attitudes of young entrepreneurs affected by conflict and displacement.

Effective education seeks to transform attitudes. Entrepreneurial education can focus on the root attitudinal causes that limit the aspirations of young entrepreneurs. Conflict-affected youth deal with the legacies of years of violence, displacement, and weakened market systems. These young people can benefit from opportunities to examine the attitudes and fears that prevent them from entrepreneurial experimentation while also learning information needed to start a business. Economic and post-conflict relief interventions should integrate attitudinal transformation into programs to empower young people and promote an independent mind-set. This type of mind-set change needs to be built and nurtured over time, in tandem with other initiatives that support finance and enterprise development.

New Tools: Enterprise Uganda Supports Attitudinal Transformation through Business Enterprise Start-Up Tools (BEST)

The BEST approach stemmed from an initiative by the Government and Enterprise Uganda, an organization dedicated to creating and nurturing the private sector in Uganda, to provide entrepreneurship and business skills to graduates to enable them to start their own businesses as a vehicle to employment creation. It is delivered through a five-day business clinic, followed by one to three business coaching and mentoring clinics, networking and market information dissemination, and linkages with other business development services providers. Based on its initial success and results, it was customized and extended to semi-educated rural youth and communities.

The BEST curriculum supports attitudinal and mindset transformation. When coupled with micro-loans and the business clinic, it provides a launch pad for young entrepreneurs who, due to conflict and displacement, may have had limited exposure to successful small business models. This curriculum contains the following components:

  • Module 1 - Getting Hold of the Inner Game
  • Module 2 - Traits of World-Class Entrepreneurs
  • Module 3  - Business Opportunity Identification & Translation into a Business
  • Module 4 - Sources of Business Capital
  • Module 5 - Business Partnerships
  • Module 6 - Action-Oriented Business Planning

To ensure buy-in, Enterprise Uganda’s entrepreneurship and business skills products address the practical business and entrepreneurial skills of different target groups. Over 8,000 youth and women were trained in seven districts of the Acholi sub-region in Northern Uganda. Within three months, youth and women had secured US$439,000 to start micro-enterprises from the following resources: equity, grants, sale of existing assets, and microfinance. All new start-ups were earning above US$2 per day, effectively reducing the number of people living below the poverty line. On average, 1.3 new jobs were created within three months by each micro-enterprise. Based on the program’s impact, results, and beneficiary testimonials, Warid Telecom, a leading company in Uganda, established the Warid Entrepreneurship Fund Uganda. Other international development partners are in discussion with Enterprise Uganda to collaborate and design projects to provide youth and women entrepreneurship training and mentoring in Uganda.

A key to Enterprise Uganda’s success is its work at the institutional level. They have found that working at the institutional level is effective because sustainable enterprises require a lot of handholding, mentoring, and linkages to other business development services providers in order to reduce the high attrition rate associated with start-ups.

For more information, see http://www.enterprise.co.ug/