Entrepreneurial skills and management skills. That’s what the Young Entrepreneur Program is all about. An effective, two-year training program in Ethiopia, where theory and practice go hand in hand. Many development programmes focus on the poorest of the poor. YEP approaches it from a different angle. Search for the high potentials and train them in management skills and personal development. Teach them business development. The result is a better thriving business community, growth of the economy, increase in employment and a higher standard of living.
‘Our company was recently selected by Ethiopian Airlines to supply their plastic cups. I got in contact with this major enterprise. Thanks to the knowledge and skills I gained through the YEP Program, I was able to develop this strategic relationship into a promising business relation!’ – Robel, Sales Manager Crown Companies
In 2017, YEP Ethiopia introduced this unique program. A business program that focuses on all facets of entrepreneurship. A program much like a MBA, but with a focus on real-life practice and soft skills. The modules taught are:
YEP trainees attend one week of class room training every quarter. During the training, they work on a business plan and a personal development plan. During classes, trainers guide this process and trainees reflect their progress with each other. They also advise each other and share their best practices.
The YEP program is a general entrepreneurship and management course. (Future) managers from manufacturing, trade, services, government and healthcare work on their leadership and management skills in this program. At the end of the program, they receive the YEP certificate.
Professionals from Dutch businesses
Lessons are given by professionals from the Dutch business world. They transfer theoretical knowledge and translate it into practice on the basis of their experiences in (international) business. Trainees are encouraged to put their acquired knowledge to work in the company where they work.
Strategic importance for Ethiopia’s future
This unique program gains a lot of interest and appreciation. ‘This is exactly what Ethiopia needs’ is a common reaction. The program really touches people. Employers are very enthusiastic about it, as are the trainees themselves. Someone responded: ‘Thank you for this golden opportunity’. ‘Keep up planting, for sure you will see the fruit’, says another.
‘I was a very strict manager for my 120 employees; in Ethiopia managers operate like a police-man (they shout many times); but now with YEP I’ve learned the importance of team-building and knowledge sharing. Thanks to YEP I’ve seen a lot of changes in my personal life and the way I manage, lead and build my team and how to communicate with other departments.’ – Dereje, Technical Manager Marangue Plants
This program is unique in Ethiopia. It has already attracted the attention of the Ethiopian government and the Dutch Embassy. The first graduation ceremony took place at the Dutch Embassy in June 2019! The program focuses strongly on quality rather than large numbers. Nevertheless, the impact is high because, as of 2020, there are already over 30 companies in the programme whose managers and entrepreneurs YEP trains, some of whom in turn manage dozens of employees. The impact of YEP is mainly on personal development, leadership skills, entrepreneurship development, growth of business development, growth of economy and jobs and ultimately a better standard of living for families working in the various businesses.
From start-up towards scale-up
Awareness of the YEP program is increasing and interest in participating continues to grow. Meanwhile, the fourth batch is following our program and the YEP Alumni group numbers over 40 qualified students. From this solid base, we plan to scale up in the coming years. From 2023 to 2028, we want to grow from the current 40 students to 225 students annually! To manage that process, a local YEP entity was set up with a local team led by a Management Team from the Netherlands (Hans and Alita Walhout) with 9 years of project experience in Ethiopia! To our opinion an unique opportunity!
YEP has strategically chosen to expand and professionalise. The challenge to move from Start-Up to Scale-Up requires a substantial investment, of which we realise that costs clearly come before benefits. The positive experience of the YEP program in recent years and the calculated business case have fully convinced the YEP board of the rightness of this step. In the years 2023 to 2026, the number of trainees will increase from 40 to 100. In our estimates, we still end up with a negative balance during these years. However, from 2027 onwards the number of students hopes to grow to such an extent that the program will become self-supporting and start making good profit.
YEP’s 5-year policy plan includes mixed funding. In the period 2023-2028, for instance, €60,000 per year is still needed in the form of one-off or multi-year donations. There is room for personal involvement of donors when they have the opportunity to provide training in the YEP program from their expertise!
Besides annual donations, the plan also includes a one-off investment requirement of €550,000. We would like to get in touch with investors who can provide a 5-year loan starting from €100,000 at an annual interest rate of 3.5%. The expectation is that this amount can be repaid from 2027. Meanwhile, a first investor has joined with an amount of €150,000 and we are on speaking terms with two more potential investors.
In 2018-2019, MissionInvest has also been personally involved with YEP as a trainer and coach. It is a great experience to train young, talented Ethiopians in entrepreneurship. They are enormously motivated to develop themselves further. It’s great to contribute personally and to make a real difference in their personal lives! In short, are you looking for a project where you can teach others in your field of expertise? This project could be your ideal match!