Many of the youths of Bangladesh have the potential to become entrepreneurs; yet very few do so, to a large extent due to a lack of a supportive environment for promoting entrepreneurial efforts of newcomers without experience or capital in Bangladesh. B’YEAH partners with major youth based organizations such The Hunger Project, NFYOB to reach out to these disadvantaged youths to promote sustainable young entrepreneurship as an alternative to paid employment. B’YEAH entrepreneurs come from a wide range of education and socio economic backgrounds starting from a young widow mother with 10th grade education to an MBA graduate with no business experience.
Support to Young Entrepreneurs
B’YEAH offers a unique blend of services and support to young entrepreneurs. These services are provided in three phases.
- The entrepreneurs meet with the B’YEAH staff to discuss their business ideas. B’YEAH staff asks in-depth questions to all its clients to determine their level of understanding and expertise in their proposed trade.
- B’YEAH policy requires every entrepreneur to work with a mentor during the initial phases of their business (1-2 years). B’YEAH receives this commitment from the client during this phase.
- B’YEAH helps the potential entrepreneurs to fill out the loan application and submit all the supporting documents (see annex) to MIDAS Financing Limited (MFL).
- B’YEAH helps the entrepreneurs to develop their business plans.
- The potential entrepreneurs meet with the B’YEAH loan committee, which is comprised of 5 B’YEAH board members including the chairman and the treasurer.
- MFL visits the selected entrepreneur’s business site to ensure authenticity of the information provided on the application
- MFL prepares the appraisal report and suggests an appropriate business loan amount. This amount may or may not match the amount requested by the applicant.
- B’YEAH disburses the loan (the full amount or in installments) to the entrepreneur through MFL and develops a payment plan.
- B’YEAH matches the entrepreneur with a volunteer business mentor.
- B’YEAH assesses training/mentoring needs of the entrepreneur and arranges specific skill development training.
B’YEAH provides each successful applicant with a mentor, usually an experienced local business person, who will work with the young candidate on one-on-one or as a group as a guide and friend for the first two or three critical years for 1-2 hrs per week. Such support acts as a protection against undue business risks and mistakes on the part of the inexperienced entrepreneur.
B’YEAH practices mainly two types of mentoring “one-to-one” and “Group Mentoring”. One – to – one mentoring allocates one entrepreneur to one mentor. However, if the Mentor so wishes, s/he may be assigned more than one entrepreneur. This model may be followed in urban programs or for candidates who do not need intense mentoring. Group mentoring consists of a group of experts in various fields such as Accounts, Marketing etc., who jointly mentor the entrepreneurs once a month and assist them in working out their business problems. Such a
model may be practiced for areas outside urban settings where long distances make the one to one mentoring model difficult or untenable.
B’YEAH identifies areas where entrepreneurs are lagging in, and will frequently organize special training for them. The trainings primarily focus on statutory requirements for running a business such as marketing, advertising, managing employees, safety at workplace, maintaining accounts, planning and prioritizing activities in the business. However, B’YEAH also conducts specific skill development and trade specific training based on the individual needs of the entrepreneurs.
B’YEAH mentor training involves interactive modules outlining best mentoring practices ranging from roles and responsibilities and communication techniques, to expectation management tips aimed at creating a customized mentoring agreement and building a strong foundation for the mentoring relationship.
B’YEAH staff training involves interactive modules outlining best management and operational practices from other Youth Business Programs around the world. Training modules that are aimed particularly at enhancing the performance of field officers will strongly reflect grassroot perspective and local content and context.
B’YEAH stays up-to-date on the status of all its entrepreneurs and mentors. In order to evaluate progress or perform training needs assessment, B’YEAH has developed several mechanisms, which involve regular phone calls to the entrepreneurs, bi weekly mentor-mentee coordination meeting etc. These provide B’YEAH with critical information for maintaining ongoing quality control over the mentoring relationship as well as the progress of the entrepreneurs.