The Ethiopian chapter making steady progress
The Africa Agribusiness Academy (AAA) Ethiopia chapter started its establishing activities a year ago with 14 vibrant agribusiness entrepreneurs from different sectors. These members come together and hold discussion forums on regular basis. To ensure sustainability of the club, the members agreed to increase the members’ drive to push forward to the next step without missing the undertaking effort by the coordinators. After discussing on the issue, the general assembly put four categories to be the future focus area of the clubs; Access to Finance, Knowledge and Experience, Networking and Advocacy. These categories have assigned members who will take the lead in the activities.
The Access to Finance team will work on organizing a pool of developmental organizations and international financial institutions that will help agribusiness entrepreneurs to access finance and overcome the challenge of capital shortage while they try to expand their businesses.
This team is also responsible to investigate further the legal framework of the country, Ethiopia, in respect to accepted international financing scheme and its modalities. It works closely with the knowledge and experience team in capacitating members towards presenting their existing and new innovative business ideae in well compiled business proposals.
The team on Knowledge and Experience will take the lead in expanding members’ exposure to acquire knowledge and experience which will help them manage their business well and have the stand to compete globally. It is expected to explore, share and coordinate knowledge sharing platforms.
Preparation and participation in international visits to countries which have better practices on each prospective sector of members. Linking the country chapter with research and higher education institutions so that members will have the strong relationship with the academies to access proven better practices.
It was also suggested that having retired professionals from Europe and the US to spend some time with the entrepreneurs in sharing their knowledge and experience at an affordable cost would be a plus. Though the idea is good enough, further exploration is needed to practically apply it.
The Networking team is charged with the responsibility of linking the entrepreneurs to local and international markets. They will first start by linking internally in the association, across the countries where AAA exists. This actions will proceed parallel with searching for B2B platforms within and outside the country.
In some agribusiness sectors, consumer behavior is a challenge in selling the product. Dairy and Poultry are examples of the sectors where customer attitude towards consuming these produces has to change for the sector for the businesses to grow.
The Advocacy team has taken the responsibility in creating advocacy and behavioral change campaigns. It will comprise of revealing facts on how the products will contribute in human health and well-being, preparing mass media advertisements bill boards and other media tools that can best address the target audience.
After setting up these teams, the members agreed to evaluate the progress and the challenges encountered in trying to implement these efforts. Last year four AAA members were grantees of the African Enterprise Challenge Fund (AECF). The Project Director Hans Nijhoff facilitated the induction program on business plan writing. The members got inspired to start writing their individual business plans.