In April 2016, USAID’s West Africa Trade and Investment Hub organized an agribusiness management and entrepreneurship workshop in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso to train 21 female cereal processors from Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana and Togo in good business management practices.
In West Africa, women entrepreneurs often lack negotiation and business management skills. The Trade Hub designed this three-day training to address this skills gap and also promote the benefits of intra-regional trade provided by the ECOWAS Trade Liberalization Scheme (ETLS). Participants were encouraged to network to build interregional relationships and find areas of collaboration for their businesses.
For one participant, the payoff was almost immediate. Ghanaian cereals processor Princess Nelson used her new business skills to win 3,000 GBP (3,800 USD) in-kind support from the United Kingdom’s Agency for International Development (UKAid)—one of 30 winners out of 1,300 applicants.
Mrs. Nelson owns Wealthy Place Ventures, a small-scale enterprise that employs seven people. Wealthy Place Ventures sells packaged brown rice and processes it into pure brown rice flour and brownie mix, a blend of flour from brown rice and six other cereals in Ghana. With her grant, Ms. Nelson bought two pieces of equipment to improve production: a rice roaster and a de-stoner to remove impurities from the grains.
“The business plan template distributed during the training helped me put my business plan together,” said Princess Nelson about her grant application. “I am also grateful to the Trade Hub for giving me a platform to practice my presentation skills, which proved very useful during the oral pitch stage of the competition.”
She continued, “Thanks to the Trade Hub training, I was able to win a grant to purchase equipment, which will enable me to process more rice for the local market and for regional export. I can also create more jobs, as I will need to hire employees to help me!”