Silatech and Shaqodoon train Somali youth employment advisors

Silatech and Somali NGO Shaqodoon recently concluded a program in Hargeisa, Somaliland, training 12 local advisors to implement the Tamheed career guidance program which was conducted from 26th-29th of January 2015, the four-day program was the first-ever Tamheed training ever to be held in the Somali territories.

Silatech is a regional social initiative that works with partners throughout the Arab world to promote large-scale job creation, entrepreneurship, access to capital and markets, and the participation and engagement of young people in economic and social development. Since being founded in 2008, Silatech has financed over 104,000 youth-owned businesses, and created or sustained over 134,000 jobs.

Developed jointly by Silatech and UK-based Mindmill, Tamheed is a career guidance program that analyzes the personality and aptitudes of young people, and then helps to align these with available career paths. Tamheed is currently available through Silatech partnerships with universities, NGOs, and governmental institutions in Qatar, Egypt, Palestine, Jordan, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Syria, Saudi Arabia, and now Somalia.

The Tamheed career guidance training comes as part of a larger partnership between Silatech, Shaqodoon, and the American Refugee Committee (ARC) signed in June 2014 to develop a network of “One-Stop Shop” (OSS) centers for youth employment and business support services. Located in the main city centers of Hargeisa, Bosaso and Mogadishu, and easily accessible to both youth and employers, these OSS will serve as knowledge and career guidance hubs for young job seekers and entrepreneurs, as well as for employers looking for skilled youth.

Services available for job seekers through these OSS include soft skills training, Tamheed career guidance and work placement, as well as financial literacy training. Young entrepreneurs are able to access entrepreneurship training, business development services, and linkages with partner microfinance institutions.

Twelve students took part during the last day of training, providing an opportunity for the newly-trained advisors to conduct career counselling sessions aimed at helping them choose a career. According to one student, Fahad Shaker, “This system is almost ‘magical’ in that it reflected my personality and behaviour as they really are. The advisor helped me to identify my potential in only a short time, and gave me extremely valuable advice on what kind of careers might fit me best. Please make an effort to continue this kind of service for youth.”

Youth unemployment in the Arab World stands at 28 percent—the highest of any region in the world. Moreover, although they comprise around two-thirds of the labor force, the unemployment rate among youths in Somalia is one of the highest of any country in the entire world; according to a 2012 UNDP report, unemployment among Somalis aged 14-29 was 67 percent.

Shaqodoon is a youth-serving NGO that provides Somali youth with skills training, access to work, internships and self-employment opportunities. The American Refugee Committee (ARC) is an international humanitarian organization that has worked in Somalia since 2011, offering services to improve the well-being of families and communities.

Youth Initiative Awarded Event

The main objective of this event was to announce and award winners of Youth Enterprise Initiative (YEI) project beneficiaries who took part in the entire competition and selection process. This event was also aimed to inspire stronger connection between financial institutions, investors, and potential youth entrepreneurs who are willing to start their businesses or expand their existing businesses. This paradigm of investing young entrepreneurs to medium sized scale investment is one of the new initiatives that promoted entrepreneurship opportunities.

Event participants
The winners awarding event was taken part by government authorities, young entrepreneurs, investors, MSMEs and University students under one roof for networking and to boost the role of financial institutions to invest in potential sectors that would create more jobs for youth and women, with higher profit margins for investors, and that consequently boost local economic growth and poverty alleviation. Somaliland Minister of commerce and International Investment Hon Dr. Muse Kassim was the guest of honor at the KIMSPLUZ  Youth Enterprise Initiative winner’s event.

During the event, seven local youth winners were announced by Kaah Islamic Microfinance Services (KIMS). The Minister of Commerce and International investment speaking during the ceremony applauded KIMS, Shaqodoon and all other project stallholders for their effort in promoting youth employments and entrepreneurial culture in the region. “This incredible work that KIMS and its partners are doing is an opportunity the youth of this region were long awaiting for. It is motivating and inspiring to see young entrepreneurs to do innovative businesses that can create employment for themselves & others and help boost our local economy” -HON. Muse Kassim

Abdulahi A. Awad Chief Executive Officer of KIMS speaking during the event said, “We are going to announce today the 7 investment winners and at the same time I would also like to thank all the applicants whom showed interest and applied this investment opportunity. I would to thank all those who participated in the training but didn’t get opportunities to receive this investment. The 7 winners will receive in-kind business investment”

Ahmed A. Jam Program Specialist of Shaqodoon, speaking the event explained the role of Shaqodoon for this imitative “These seven winners, Shaqodoon was trained with the basics of business management and entrepreneurial skills essential from them to successfully launch and run their businesses at the early stage of their growth and also provided ongoing specialized business development services help them to become successful, develop their business plans and pitch their business ideas.

During the launch of this project, 180 applicants was applied this investment and submitted their proposals back in June, 2015, the gender aggregation was 142 males and 38 females. In total amount applied by the entrepreneurs was $2,030,934, the total amount of contribution were $306,040.00; Only 20 applicants had been shortlisted for the investment. The 20 shortlisted applicants attended two months boot camp training, mentorship and business development support services provided by Shaqodoon organization. The shortlisted applicants were 11 females and 9 males.

18 of 20 shortlisted applicants were new entrepreneurs while other 2 applicants were existing entrepreneurs. However, 13 entrepreneurs completed the boot camp training, while 7 entrepreneurs were dropped out due to different reasons. “Many thanks to KIMS and Shaqodoon Organization, this program has changed my way of life and made my dream to come true” said Abdirisak one of the winners.

After the training completion, Shaqodoon organized business plan competition event held at Mansoor Hotel for 11 finalist entrepreneurs were pitched their business ideas in front of the investment committee. The investment committee was consisting of 4 members were representing consortium members of the project. Only 7 entrepreneurs became finalist and won the investment competition. It was very remarkable that this is event stimulated other potential young entrepreneurs to follow same path that won entrepreneurs gone through!