Developing the entrepreneurial skills of women in the Amhara region

Last month, the director of the AICS Addis Ababa Office, Isabella Lucaferri, and the head and colleagues of the economic development and job creation sector visited the Amhara region to monitor the results of Italy’s contribution to the Women Entrepreneurship Development Program (WEDP). This program aims to develop women’s entrepreneurship. The program, launched in 2018, to which the Italian Cooperation contributed 15.2 million euros, promotes women’s empowerment through the development of small and medium-sized enterprises and the direct engagement of national partners such as the Entrepreneurship Development Institute (EDI).

The main activities concern access to financial services for women entrepreneurs and capacity building to facilitate access to more productive technologies that can increase incomes and create synergies among the actors involved.

Several One-Stop-Shops (OSS) to offer counseling services to women entrepreneurs, including registration for the WEDP program, introduction to training courses, and opportunities to access credit, have been built and activated in the project areas.

There are currently five active branches in the Bahir Dar area, one microfinance institution with six branches to provide loans, and two vocational training institutions (TVETs).

In Bahir Dar, about 3900 people have registered for the program so far, of whom 2800 have received management training. More than 1480 women have obtained a loan to invest and thus strengthen their businesses. In addition, four bazaars are organized in the city each year to enable customers (mainly from the textile and leather sector) and entrepreneurs to establish business links.

In Gondar, the project is also continuing successfully; nearly 1,800 people are enrolled in the program, of which about 1,200 have taken part in training, and 515 loans have been granted.

“I registered to WEDP 6 years ago and was able to both participate in training and receive a first loan that I have already been able to repay. Now, I would like to apply for another one to expand my business. Thanks to WEDP, today I have the opportunity to have two permanent and five part-time employees,” Birhan, textile entrepreneur, Bahir Dar.

“I have been part of WEDP since 2013. Thanks to this program, I have participated in several trainings that have provided me with the knowledge to expand my business. Currently, my business has two permanent employees and five part-time staff and I have made seven business contacts with companies,” Metasebia, owner of an Ethiopian traditional garment store, Gondar.

The positive results achieved with WEDP brought the creation of a new program, also funded by AICS, with a value of 1 million euros, complementary to the previous one. This new phase focuses on the growth and entry of women in the leather sector and is estimated to reach about 5,000 women entrepreneurs, of whom 1,000 are in Addis Ababa alone.

Find out more:

Posted in .