ILO launches business plan competition to boost entrepreneurship in Ethiopia’s Somali region
The competition offers financial support and specialized training to promising business ideas, aiming to stimulate entrepreneurship and sustainable economic growth among refugees and their hosts in the Somali region.
Jigjiga, ETHIOPIA (ILO News) – The International Labour Organization (ILO) PROSPECTS and HASI Consulting have taken a significant step towards fostering entrepreneurship and economic growth in the Fafan zone of the Somali region. With the launch of a business plan competition (BPC) on 29-30 June 2023, the initiative aims to support young people, women and men from refugee and host communities who harbour ambitions of expanding their existing businesses or starting new ventures.
The competition will start with about 200 young people participating in training to help each of them to devise their own unique business plans. Following a rigorous evaluation, participants with the most outstanding proposals will be selected to present their ideas to a review committee of experts. The top 60 entrepreneurs will receive financial support to turn their plans into reality, while the remaining participants will be connected to local financial service providers to access funding opportunities.
“Ethiopia’s Somali region is prone to droughts and is one of the least developed regions in the country. Moreover, the region hosts a high number of forcibly displaced people from neighbouring countries,” explained Jean-Yves Barba, Chief Technical Advisor, ILO PROPSECTS Ethiopia. He added: “The business plan competition approach is one that the ILO has used in different contexts and that has shown positive results in terms of enterprise development and the stimulation of job creation. By giving small businesses the opportunity to grow and contribute further to community and local economic development, they create a win-win situation for both entrepreneurs and the communities within which they operate.”
Eirmyas Kaase, Senior Programme Officer, ILO PROSPECTS Ethiopia, said: “The competition aims to benefit entrepreneurs who not only have business ideas, but also a strong interest to expand their existing business or start a new one. We will be encouraging young people and especially women to participate in this competition. The overarching objective is to create a thriving and sustainable local economy that benefits both refugees and the host communities.”