6.5.2 Adapt Youth Entrepreneurship Training and Support for Rural Areas

There is a plethora of entrepreneurship training programs that encompass a wide range of strategies, but have some common elements. Typical topics include personal exploration and assessment, financial literacy, orientation to entrepreneurships, enterprise establishment and management skills, and exposure to established businesses and entrepreneurs. In addition, most programs include practical experience through planning, internships or actually starting a business. To meet the needs of young people in general, entrepreneurship training is sometimes adapted to focus more on:

  • Starting a business,
  • Self-exploration,
  • Business examples more typical of a young population,
  • Younger speakers and site visits to younger entrepreneurs,
  • Language and visual materials suited to a younger audience, and
  • A faster learning pace.  

To better meet the needs of rural youth, some additional adaptations are suggested, depending on the demographics of the population. For example, training might be adapted to incorporate:

  • Lower literacy levels,
  • Cases of rural businesses,
  • Cases and strategies for group initiatives to overcome some challenges of operating in more remote areas and needing to overcome the high expense of accessing inputs or markets,
  • Lower availability of infrastructure such as electricity, and
  • Agri-business or farming as a business. 

As mentioned earlier, incorporating a gender perspective is also more important in rural curricula, although important for both.

Strengthening Rural Youth Development Through Enterprise (STRYDE) in East Africa

The STRYDE 1program delivers training and mentoring to young people ages 18-35 in rural Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda. Training modules include personal effectiveness, professional effectiveness, personal finance, entrepreneurship, think business and agri-business. A key feature of the program is its length and strong after-care. After a 3 month training, graduates receive mentoring for 9 additional months along with access to job fairs, business planning competitions and links to sources of funding for business start-up. Some graduates engage in group-based enterprises. For example, one group set up a savings plan so that each member using the group contribution in turn could establish a pig rearing business. Between 2011 and 2013, some 7,100 people have graduated from STRYDE. In a survey of the second group of participants, the percent of people “not engaged” in school, work or business declined from 44% to 5%, with just under half finding jobs and just under half starting a business, and a small minority enrolling in school. The percent of participants employed increased from 5% to 25% and the percent in business increased from 28% to 50%. The program plans to reach 15,000 young people by 2015, and is working with the Government of Rwanda to mainstream the program.

Practical, Interactive Training in Farming as a Business

Making Cents International’s Agriculture Enterprise Curriculum™ is an interactive course that empowers small-scale producer farmers to take a more commercially minded approach to their farming activities. Smallholder farmers participate in role-playing, simulation and other exercises to practice business concepts, experiment, take risks, and use creative problem-solving techniques in a safe environment. Participants apply lessons learned through these activities to develop a business plan for their own individual farming businesses, which they can implement upon completion of the course.

The curriculum aims to help agriculture value chain players:

  • Enhance their understanding and awareness of basic business concepts and market conditions that affect their ability to maximize their profits and improve production;
  • Understand the broader context of suppliers, producers, wholesalers, retailers, and consumers in which they conduct their agricultural operations (value chain);
  • Discover practical methods and techniques for planning, income projection, risk assessment, debt management, savings, and profit maximization-allowing farmers to move from subsistence to commercial farming practices;
  • Improve skills in the areas of financial management (including cash flow), record-keeping, and market analysis; and
  • Formulate individual action plans to implement what they have learned after the training.

Making Cents originally designed this curriculum for use with agricultural value chain actors, including input suppliers, input distributors, producers, and wholesale traders; and then adapted it to more specifically target it for youth participants in 2010.

After participating in trainings with this curriculum, smallholder farmers have shown that they can do a better job of growing their businesses: they maintain better records; they do a better job of purchasing inputs when prices are low and selling goods when market prices are high; and, most importantly, they successfully increase their profits. For more information on this tool, please visit the Youth Enterprise Development chapter, go to http://www.makingcents.com/products_services/curriculum.php or email [email protected]


  • 1. STRYDE is a $11.5 million, four-year program to help rural young women and men in East Africa transition to economic independence. It is funded by The MasterCard Foundation and implemented by TechnoServe.