Young Nigerien Entrepreneurs Meet for Fourth Networking Event
Niamey – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) organized this month (07/03) in Zinder its fourth networking day for young entrepreneurs benefiting from IOM’s project “Initiatives for the Development of the Enterprise” (IDEE).
IDEE is an IOM project funded by the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS) and supported by NGO Terre Solidali, local business incubator CIPMEN and the microfinance institution Capital Finance, under the auspices of the Ministry for Youth Entrepreneurship in Niger.
Launched in January 2018, the IDEE project aims to improve employment opportunities for Nigerien youth by strengthening their technical skills and capabilities to develop local businesses, and thus creating viable alternatives to irregular migration linked to the search of economic opportunities.
During this month’s event at the University of Zinder, entrepreneurs from Niamey, Tahoua and Zinder – the three locations where the project is being implemented – had stands where they displayed their products and services. Zinder and Tahoua are the two main regions of origin for migrants departing for Libya and Algeria respectively.
The objective of this one-day event was to consolidate the network of IDEE beneficiaries, but also to showcase the products and services developed by the project’s young entrepreneurs to university students in order to provide them with ideas and tangible success models.
The beneficiaries took the opportunity to tell the more than 300 people attending what benefits, challenges and responsibilities they might face as Niger’s future entrepreneurs.
“This day was very enriching. I was able to expand my network and learn concepts I had never heard of before," said Sofiane, one of the attendees from Niamey. “Initiatives such as this one give us hope and show us that we don’t need to leave our country to succeed.”
The attendees had the chance to ask questions and open up about their own struggles with entrepreneurship. “I started my agriculture business from scratch and climbed my way up,” Amadou, one of the students participating, said. “I now own a field equipped with modern irrigation systems where young community members can be trained.”
Networking, including sharing of information and lessons learned, is one of the guiding principles of the project, as it encourages beneficiaries to discuss challenges and opportunities among themselves, and to seek and provide products and services for each other.
IDEE beneficiaries often implement training courses in their specific areas of activity in the different regions, in order to build trust with youth through their mentorship.
Throughout the day, IOM’s partners such as CIPMEN and Capital Finance, held seminars on a variety of topics linked to the theme of entrepreneurship. This gave young entrepreneurs the opportunity to learn about subjects such as taxes.
“We are aware that being an entrepreneur is not easy,” explained Barbara Rijks, IOM’s Chief of Mission in Niger, “but the IDEE beneficiaries have been able to withstand many challenges and have succeeded thanks to the support received from all of our partners. I hope many Nigerien youth will follow their example,” she added.
The project supports entrepreneurs with innovative ideas and aims to expand currently underdeveloped sectors of the local economy, such as Information technology (IT) or the solar industry. Over 70 young Nigerien entrepreneurs have been supported and more than 500 jobs have been created so far thanks to the project.
For more information, please contact Monica Chiriac at IOM Niger at Tel: +227 8931 8764, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.