Young entrepreneurs in the Netherlands looking to do business with Africa can join in with a new initiative: Making Africa Work. This year, some 40 entrepreneurs will be given the opportunity to obtain support in establishing a business in Africa. The assistance offered to them in finding local partners and developing their business plan is expected to help them achieve a faster and better business launch. The project also hopes to boost employment opportunities in Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, Rwanda and Sierra Leone. After all, the best guarantee for new jobs and local growth is new business. Entrepreneurs in the Netherlands wishing to set up or expand their business in these countries, can get in touch with PUM and Africa in Motion, starting today.
Making Africa Work is aimed both at African migrants and students in the Netherlands wishing to start up a business in their country of origin, and entrepreneurs in the Netherlands who see Africa as a growth market, and are looking for partners. “Matching migrants and Dutch businesses with promising African companies, is a modern form of essential development aid. By offering coaching, combining market research and drawing up sound business plans, the programme will promote employment as well as business opportunities in Africa,” explained Johan van de Gronden, CEO of PUM Netherlands senior experts. Making Africa Work is a one-year pilot project based on experience accrued by Africa in Motion, which in the past matched a.o. a Rwandan migrant and a Dutch dairy farmer, who have since established a successful collaborative venture in Rwanda.
Africa as a growth market
Every year, the numbers of young people joining the labour market outstrip the number of jobs available. As a result, unemployment is growing; a development that promotes migration. One way of reducing this migratory pressure is to encourage entrepreneurship, since new businesses generate new jobs. Dutch companies can make a contribution, because Africa is an attractive growth market with huge potential. In the expansion phase of their business, however, it is unfortunately often difficult for entrepreneurs to make the shift to the African continent. Making Africa Work can help them, with its local contacts and expertise.
Matching businesses here and there
Making Africa Work is a programme implemented by PUM Netherlands senior experts (PUM) and Africa in Motion (AIM) and financed by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The one-year programme will be operated in Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, Rwanda and Sierra Leone. By appealing to existing partners in the Netherlands and in the region, the aim is to have established forty matches between entrepreneurs here and in the target countries by the end of the year, with a business plan for each successful match, backed up by market research and feasibility studies.
About PUM Netherlands senior experts (www.pum.nl)
PUM is Europe’s largest ‘employment agency’ for professional volunteers who wish to share their commercial knowledge and experience with entrepreneurs in developing countries. PUM was established in 1978 by employers’ organisation VNO-NCW, based on the vision that entrepreneurship is the driving force for sustainable development. The organisation has been active for decades in Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, Rwanda and Sierra Leone, and has an extensive network of local partners in those countries, including incubators, Chambers of Commerce and industry associations, all of whom will be mobilised for making Making Africa Work. PUM will also involve its Dutch network of entrepreneurs in implementing this programme, and deploy senior experts as project coaches.
About Africa in Motion (www.africainmotion.nl)
AIM is an initiative by African migrants in the Netherlands. Since 2010, AIM has aimed to increase the impact of African diaspora on sustainable economic growth in their countries of origin. In 2015, AIM facilitated a series of matches between Rwandan students and Dutch entrepreneurs, that have led to combined business activities in Rwanda. AIM will be providing coaches for Making Africa Work, and mobilising its network of diaspora organisations.