UNDP through its Business Opportunities Support Services (BOSS) project has awarded start-up capital to 4 of 5 companies that won a business competition.
Under an Entrepreneurship Challenge (Business Plan Competition) launched in partnership with the Booker Washington Institute (BWI) among graduating senior students and recent graduates of the Institute, 5 companies were declared winners of the competition with the best business plans, by a panel of judges last year.
The grants are between USD$8,000-USD$12,400, depending on the type of business. The 4 winners received 40% of the amount to be awarded.
Presenting the checks on behalf of UNDP Resident Representative Pa Lamin Beyai, the Deputy for Operations Mulugeta Abebe, encouraged recipients to use the initial start-up capital to grow businesses that will be models of success and attract more investment opportunities.
“Every business needs innovative skills and ideas that will help you create your own jobs. You are the epitome of entrepreneurship,” said Abebe.
Mr. Abebe informed the grantees that award of the 60% will depend on how well the first trench is utilized.
“We will be watching you in your endeavors to meet or reach the milestones needed to facilitate award of the rest of the grant. Don’t fail us,” emphasized Mulugeta.
Speaking earlier, UNDP Pillar Head for its Sustainable Economic Transformation Programme Dorsla Farcathy said UNDP is keen on building a network of young entrepreneurs to work for themselves.
“Capacity Development is the heartbeat of UNDP. Government is unable to employ everyone. You can benefit from your own life skills,” said Farcathy.
The Acting President of BWI, James Walker urged beneficiaries to be models of accountability and integrity in their quest to be job creators rather than job seekers.
“Millionaires are not made in one day,” Walker stressed.
Members of the 4 companies expressed appreciation to UNDP and partners for the opportunity to be their own bosses, adding that they will grow investments that will positively transform their lives.
The 5th company is yet to complete the required documentations and processes in order to secure their grant.
As part of the competition, 24 business ideas were received from over 120 students. 12 ideas were selected and training was conducted in business development plan.
Out of the 12 business plans submitted and pitched, the best 5 were selected by the panel of judges following a rigorous process.
The companies set up are in the areas of hospitality, construction, food processing, car wash, and agri-business.
The aim of the initiative is to promote entrepreneurship development among young people.