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Young people gain economic empowerment through innovations

The Dalbile youth fund, which provides grants to youth startups after going through boot camp for ideation and extensive mentorship and coaching on 27 February 2021 in Kismayo, identified Higsi Transportation Company as the team with the best presentation, Dalag Agri-Tech Company as having the most impactful solution and Badbaado Company as the team with the most innovative idea.

Higsi Transportation Company focuses on providing a reliable, cheap, smart and localized means of transportation within Kismayo. Dalag Agri-Tech Company works on developing technologies that allow farmers to maximize yields by controlling every variable of crop farming such as moisture levels, pests and soil condition by providing more accurate techniques for planting and growing crops to enable farmers to increase efficiency and manage costs. Badbaado is a company that focuses on environment protection, recycling and waste management in Kismayo. The company also works on preserving and protecting nature and does environmental awareness within the community.

“The Dalbile Youth Initiative is a socio-economic initiative to empower Somalia youth with skills and resources to unlock their full potentials. The European Union has provided 6 million Euro for this project that supports job creation for the youth and is being implemented by UNFPA with local partners Irise,Shaqodoon and Y-PEER,” explained UNFPA Somalia Programme Officer for Youth and innovation Fatuma Kuno Muhumed.

She said the initiative helps young people shape their ideas into investable ventures. “The funds are particularly targeted and are important for youth startups that would otherwise not qualify for loans from credit facilities,” said Muhumed.

Together with five other teams, the three companies were granted a startup of US $2,000 each. The financial awards were made after iRise Hub successfully completed three-months incubation training for 75 young entrepreneurs who took part in the Dalbile Bootcamp training held in Kismayo from 31 October to 4 November 2020.

The other initiatives included Jubba Education Network, which focuses on providing a unified education curriculum, qualified and certified-trained school teachers. The network also works on networking and connecting students from different schools to create opportunities for authentic learning, job readiness and student resilience. Sahal Fish Company specializes in fishing, processing and drying fresh fish. Somali Relief Wind Organization (SORWO) is a girl and women-focused organization that provides a safe space for women to think through issues they face and develop strategies for addressing them. Beer-Samo Agricultural Company works on promoting modern agriculture and manufacturing of greenhouse materials, cultivating various crops, vegetables and fruits. Xaqsoor Company focuses on developing applications that can be used to report and raise awareness of female genital mutilation (FGM) and rape.

“The incubation program focused on tapping into the ideas of the youth through mentorships, life skills coaching and financial literacy,” said iRise Hub Director of Business Strategy Khadar Ismail.

He said during the training, and the 75 young entrepreneurs were divided into teams based on their business ideas while carefully putting together members with similar ideas into the same group.

The three months incubation program tackled such issues as crafting strong business ideas built on customer development for the businesses to respond to real needs that are significant in the market. Value propositions and completing the Business Model Canvas (BMC) followed the initial discussions of customer development and technical aspects and feasibility of the business ideas, including operations, marketing and branding.

“We received more than 200 applications during our call for applications and selected the eight initiatives based on their diversity and solutions they offered. The cohorts were selected based on their merits and the solutions they offered. We have emphasized solutions that focus on health, agriculture, fisheries, ICT and services industry,” explained Ismail. He said the training also covered handling of finances, including sources of finances, good and bad loans, bookkeeping and calculating profit and loss.

“Finally, the trainees worked on their action plans and pitches to get ready to make their business dreams into reality,” said Ismail. He said on 25 February 2021; all the entrepreneurs pitched their ideas in front of expert judges and representatives from the Ministry of Youth and Sports, including the Director-General Abdirahman Abdi Ahmed, a business community leader of Jubaland Hassan Abdi Hassan, chairman of Jubaland Youth Osman Mohamed Abdi, and iRise Hub.

The judges were giving points depending on problem clearance in terms of presentation, solution, team collaboration and whether the idea was investable.

“It was an absolute honour for iRise Hub to have mentored these teams. They have shown that they have what it takes to be the future change-makers of Somalia. We look forward to seeing their business ideas up and running while bringing a difference within their community,” said Ismail.

Globally, UNFPA partners with young people, helping them participate in decisions affecting them and strengthening their ability to advance human rights and development issues such as health, education and employment.

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          ---Pilirani Semu-Banda