One of the first student from Alpha University who received an internship position.

Hassan is a 25-year-old senior at Alpha University who currently lives in Hargeisa. In his last year, before he graduates while studying accountant and finance he was able to land an internship position with the help of Shaqodoon. Hassan has never had a job neither has he ever worked as an intern. Out of 38 Universities in Somaliland only 1 has an internship program. With hard work and consistency Hassan luckily was able to be the first student from Alpha University to land an internship position.

 

“Being an intern leads you to a shining future because you get inner strength, confidence and self reliance.” Hassan 2017

 

Shaqodoon this year is supporting five local universities in Somaliland to place their students as interns in order to prepare for the real world workplace. Hassan was one of the lucky students Shaqodoon is supporting in 2017. In the month of May 2017 he started as an intern in the department of admin and Finance at the Ministry of Housing and Public Transportation.

 

“My initial plan was to move to another country after I graduate if I’m still unemployed but after gaining experience I changed my mind.” Hassan 2017

 

Hassan dreamed of an opportunity until it came knocking on his door one day. During his internship he received motivations and practical trainings which than gave him a greater level of understanding of how the admin and finance system functions. He really appreciated the placement and enjoyed his time.

 

“ The team I worked in was very friendly and welcoming. I felt that my confidence has improved and this placement has equipped me with the right skills I need for further employment in my graduate field. “ Hassan 2017

Entrepreneurship Training Ceremony

On 2nd of November 2016, a well-organized closing ceremony for entrepreneurship and skills enhancement program for graduated youth, was held in imperial hotel Hargaisa with presence of honourable guests.

Shaqodoon organization with the support of SPARK, trained youth graduates from both University of Hargiesa. (UoH) and Beder International University (BIU) on entrepreneurship program for a period of two weeks. During ceremony officials from the government was invited to participate, Mr. Mohamed Awoow from ministry of Education welcomed and thanked the participants and organizers on behalf of the director general ministry.

Mr. Abdirashid, the Dean of business department of UoH who was among the facilitators and lecturers of this training gave his speech and said “This short training will have positive impact, the future of the student participated and entire youth in the nationwide by reducing youth migrating outside of the country and motivates graduated youth to start their business than risking their lives on Tahrib”

He also added, “From my experience and the trainings outside Somaliland, In relation to the entrepreneurship courses, it gives me a confidence to say, this program will contribute to the future of students who aspire to be entrepreneurs”

Two students who participated the training and attended the event were also given chances to express their feelings, both students explained how this training program impacted their scope of thinking “We are in a better stage than where we were before this training program, and now we have the skills to develop business plans and the best way we can manage our business” one of the students said. “We have the skill to develop business plans, come up with new ideas and utilize our ability” another added.

Shiekh Abi from Beder International University came to the stage and shared his practical experience and life story with graduates, and he said “while I was watching TV in Saudi a young girl at the age of 8 years called the live program by saying I have an idea then the program commentator invited her a special meeting to discuss further with her idea, surprisingly her idea was sold about six million dollar and was added the future senior staffs of the institutions”.

Mr. Ahmed from SPARK briefed the Audience about the objectives of the training where he said ‘’that the aim of this training was to prepare the youth on becoming future entrepreneurs’’.

Finally, director general of the ministry of commerce thanked all the participants and Shaqodoon organization of implementing such sustainable projects in the whole of Somalia and in particular Somalilan, whch enhances job creation, training young graduates and other fruitful activities. He also promised that he will give students special focus by giving them all the assistances they might need in the future.

Somaliland Internship & Apprenticeship Consultative Workshop

A one day jointly organized, consultative workshop on internship and apprenticeship was held at the Ambassador hotel, the workshop main objectives was to promote information sharing among different regions in Somaliland, especially looking at formal employment among youth, disseminate knowledge and on guiding principles of organizations with significant impact; as well as identifying different avenues in designing and implementing youth initiatives.

The workshop brought together ministerial representatives of Somaliland government including ministry of youth, sports and culture, ministry of education and higher studies, employers of Spark and Shaqdoon organization. These organizations shared their most innovative youth employment experiences. Others present were university students, graduates and business community leaders

Shaqodoon representative Mr. Abdiqani diriye highlighted the efforts that Shaqodoon organization is making towards youth employment through their various investments. Some of the key components is connecting youth to potential employers through simple technology services and provision of relevant trainings to equip youths with necessary skills to make them suitable and competitive in the job market. Mr. Diriye also encouraged youth and the business community in general on creating businesses and enrolling institutions/programmes in supporting Shaqodoon & Sparks initiatives, so that employment opportunities are created and local economy similarly improved.

Prior to the workshop, representatives of each organizations including government institutions completed forms on initiatives to promote formal employment among youth. They were also asked to identify innovative experience of proven impact, these information served as the bases for the rounds of presentations and mutual learning exercises.

The workshop methodology, had participatory focus that gave participants the opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of pros and cons of the innovative experiences. Each organization had joint facilitation in preparations, conclusions and recommendations for youth employment, internships and apprenticeships plans and strategies.

Business Plan Competition for youth entrepreneurs in Beletweyn

On April 7th 2016, Shaqodoon in partnership with Kaah Islamic Microfinance Services (KIMS) held a long day business plan competition event for 15 young entrepreneurs. The aim of the business plan was to encourage growth of entrepreneurial capabilities of young people and opportunity to pitch their business ideas in front of potential investors.

KIMS launched Youth Enterprise Initiative (YEI) shortly known as “KIMSPLUZ”, introducing new initiative intended to provide mid-size loan capital (from $5000 up to $50,000) to youth entrepreneurs to start or expand their businesses, with overall objective of expanding opportunities for Somali youth through entrepreneurship so it can be used as an effective strategy to fight against poverty and in particularly chronic unemployment among youth, through job creation and skills development, as well as providing access to finance.

Hence creating and building youth enterprises through a combination of innovative financial and non-financial services, from the time KIMSPLUZ was launched, over 400 loan applications had been received. Twenty entrepreneurs were selected from diverse business sectors by KIMS, successful shortlist were then enrolled into entrepreneurship boot camp training for period of two months. During the training period, youth gained access to comprehensive and interactive training course, business development support services, access to resources, as well as receiving guidance & support in developing winning business plans by Shaqodoon throughout the training period.

After completing two months comprehensive Build Your Business training, Shaqodoon organized one day elevator pitch event alongside with KIMS held at Daru-salam hotel, Beletweyn for eighteen [18] finalists.

The youth entrepreneurs pitched their business ideas in front of the investment committee/panel consisting of KIMS and Shaqodoon. The youth pitchers were given 10-15 minutes to present their business plans in front of the panellist followed by 10 minutes of question and answers after their pitch.

As part of normal investment process, KIMS will be conducting further due diligence on all youth pitchers, as a way to finalize and announce the winners.

Business Plan Competition for youth entrepreneurs in Kismayo.

April 2nd, 2016 Shaqodoon in partnership with Micro-Dahab MFI held a long day business plan competition event for 15 young entrepreneurs. The aim of the business plan was to encourage entrepreneurial capabilities of young people, by giving them the opportunity to pitch their business ideas in front of potential investors.

M-Dahab launched Youth Enterprise Initiative (YEI) introducing new initiative intended to provide mid-size loan capital (from $5000 up to $50,000) to start or expand their businesses with objectives of expanding opportunities for Somali youth through entrepreneurship as an effective strategy to fight against poverty in particularly chronic unemployment among youths, job creation and skills development, as well as providing financial access to young entrepreneurs and build youth enterprises through a combination of innovative financial and non-financial services. Once the project was launched, over 200 loan applications had been received. Twenty entrepreneurs were selected from diverse business sectors to enroll into entrepreneurship boot camp training for period of two months. During the training period, youth were given access to comprehensive and interactive training course, business development support services, develop winning business plans with continuous business plan development support, which was provided by Shaqodoon throughout the training period.

After completing two months comprehensive Build Your Business training, Shaqodoon organized a one day elevator pitch event, alongside with M-Dahab held at Kismayo Agan Hotel. The fifteen [15] finalist entrepreneurs pitched their business ideas in front of the investment committee/panellist, consisting of M-Dahab and Shaqodoon. The youth pitchers were give 10-15 minutes to present their business plans in front of the panel, followed by 10 minutes of question and answers where young entrepreneurs defended their business plans and respond to committee inquiries.

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!

Business Plan Competition Event

On December 20th 2015, Shaqodoon and KIMS held a one day business plan competition event for 11 young entrepreneurs. The aim of the business plan was to encourage growth of entrepreneurial activities in Somaliland and young entrepreneurs were dared to pitch their business ideas in front of potential investors.

It was day that was well-structured and implemented for excellent investment process for emerging entrepreneurs. Kaah Islamic Microfinance Institution (KIMS) launched Youth Enterprise Initiative (YEI) project to introduce the new initiative intended for Somali youth to provide mid-sized loan capital from $5000 up to $ 50,000 with the objectives of expanding opportunities to Somali youth employment, through job creation and skills development, as well as providing financial access to young entrepreneurs and build youth enterprises through a combination of innovative financial and non-financial services. When the project was launched over 200 loan applications had been received. Twenty entrepreneurs were selected from diverse business sectors on the bases of viable business ideas.

Shortlisted entrepreneurs were then referred to Shaqodoon to receive start-up trainings on basics business management and entrepreneurial skills, so they are able to launch and run businesses at the early stage of their growth and also provide ongoing specialized business development services to the entrepreneurs.
Those entrepreneurs have gone through two months boot comp training, mentorship and business plan development support services, after a long trainee performances evaluation and support during boot camp training.
After the training completion, Shaqodoon organized business plan competition event, held at Mansoor Hotel for 11 finalist entrepreneurs, they were given the stage to pitch their business ideas in front of the investment committee. The investment committee consisted of four members, representing the consortium of the project. The panellist were given the task of reviewing business plans submitted by young entrepreneurs before holding the pitching event. The panellists were given scoring sheet to assess the business profitably, sustainability and market demand for the product/service. The panellist also assessed the business plan, market opportunity, knowledge and experience of the owners, perspective of company in community work and self-employment, and their forecast of how many people they anticipate to employee as result of starting up. During the event the panellists asked the competitors few questions relating to their passion to start a business, their mind-sets and other questions that related to their business. Below are the list of business plan competition panellist.

  1. Abdi Abdulahi- General Manager of KIMS
  2. Abdi Abdulahi- Credit officer at KIMS
  3. Abdikani Deria- Program Director of Shaqodoon
  4. Mohamed Abdi- Project Manager of Shaqodoon

On 17-19th December, the 11 finalist entrepreneurs were called on day workshop at Shaqodoon’s One Stop Shop Center to help and prepare entrepreneurs for the pitching day. The entrepreneurs were provided elevator pitch training, and each trainee presented his/her business idea in front of Shaqodoon Business Development Officers. The youth were given possible questions that could be asked by the investment committee and were given heads up to prepare answers for all areas of the business plans in particular financial information, revenue model, market opportunity and forecasting.

30 Selected Young Entrepreneurs begin BYB Training in Mogadishu

Launching of Entrepreneurship Boot Camp Training For 30 Youth Entrepreneurs, Shaqodoon Organization in partnership with Kaah Islamic Micro-finance Services [KIMS] and Micro-Dahab successfully launched Entrepreneurship Boot Camp training for thirty youth entrepreneurs in Mogadishu under Youth Enterprise Initiative [YEI on Monday December 14th, 2015 at Hope University compound.

GEW November 2014 Somaliland Press Communique

On November 23rd, a conference to commemorate the Somali chapter of the Global Entrepreneurship Week was held at Maansoor Hotel in Hargeisa, Somaliland with a wide range of participants in attendance.

With a particularly strong focus on inspiring and empowering youth entrepreneurship, the conference’s key objective was raising the awareness of local businesses, civil society, policymakers and the international community on the socioeconomic and structural challenges faced generally by entrepreneurs in Somaliland, especially youth.

Officially opening the conference, Hon. Hersi H. Ali Hassan, the Minister of Presidency conveyed his appreciation for the significant role the private sector plays in social development and nation-building. He, in turn, he also stressed there was a great need to engage in concerted and cross-sectoral efforts to create an enabling business-friendly environment for entrepreneurs. While acknowledging the importance structural reform, the Minister also emphasised in harnessing the entrepreneurial spirit of local populations cannot be left to the government alone. As such, he implored on the business community to demonstrate greater willingness to work together in exploiting local resources to stimulate economic prosperity.

Concurring with these sentiments, Hon. AbdiAziz Samale, the Minister of Finance, provided a detailed account of the important strides the government has made over the past four years to significantly increase the country’s annual budget through improved state revenue and fiscal systems. The Minister also highlighted a number of critical challenges which limits economic growth including the high rate of Khat consumption, although it constitutes one of the largest sources of revenue for the state and employer, the Minister stated that, the associated social and economic problems with its consumption far outweighs the benefits both in the short as well as long-term.

Reaffirming the perils faced by the business community, the Minister of Commerce, Dr. Musa Qasim, highlighted a number of critical initiatives in which his ministry has engaged as part of efforts to creating an enabling environment for local enterprises. For example, housed inside the Ministry of Commerce, the One-Stop Shop is a single-location agency that will streamline the paperwork and formalities involved in obtaining business license and certification. The agency, which will be launched in December, is part of a strategic response to minimise the daunting bureaucracy that often dispirits local entrepreneurs. The minister is also committed to formulate national entrepreneurship policy emphasising youth start-ups and local entrepreneurs in partnership with Shaqodoon organization.

The Minister of Youth and Sport, Hon. Ali Saed Raygal, spoke lengthily of the overall challenges facing the youth in general, but particularly with regards to their capacity to engage into business ventures. While attributing some of the challenges to the fact that the country is still recovering from the heritage of war, he also mentioned the use of Khat and illegal migration as among a list of other social ills facing the youth. He implored on the youth to demonstrate maturity and willingness to engage in meaningful ways to improve their own lives.

Three lively panel discussions were facilitated during the event in which representatives of the private sector, civil society, academia, and government participated. Despite their busy schedules, the ministers demonstrated their commitment to the issue at hand by actively participating in the panel discussions.

Led by the Minister of Commerce, Dr. Musa Qasim, the first panel examined the importance of sound and efficient policies in the creation of an enabling environment for business and enterprise. While the substantial steps recently taken by the government were acknowledged including the soon-to-be launched One-Stop Shop and Investment Portal, it was agreed that the existing system and policies were a hindrance to innovation and entrepreneurship in this country. In response, the panel proposed a critical review of existing laws and policies as part of a comprehensive and multi-sectoral effort to empowering local populations.

Reaffirming the role played by the country’s entrepreneurs in driving economic growth and developing solutions to local problems, the second panel discussion examined the major opportunities open to local entrepreneurs and, in turn, the challenges they face in harnessing those prospects. The panel, which was led by Hon. Ali Saed Raygal, the Minister of Youth, underlined lack of skilled workforce, lack of access to finance and structural inefficiencies as the major critical factors challenging how entrepreneurs do business in this country. While it was agreed that some of these challenges will require a long-term multi-sectoral strategy, the need for a quick response from the different stakeholders was also underscored.

Titled “Access to Source of Finance for Start-up” the final panel looked at the limited options the vast majority of entrepreneurs face in securing capital for start-ups or expansion to existing businesses. During the panel discussion, representatives from the country’s major financial institutions – i.e. MicroDahab and Dara Salaama Bank – took the floor to illustrate the process through which entrepreneurs and local businesspeople can secure investment loans and credit from their respective institutions. Although recognising the importance of their services to the wider business community, it was widely-acknowledged that the parameter of their systems continues to alienate youth entrepreneurs. In response, representatives from these institutions pledged their willingness to exploring with options that would render their investment and credit systems more youth-friendly. The panel, which was led by Mr. Abdi Guray, the Director General of the Ministry of Industry, agreed there was a greater need for tapping into alternative sources of capital such as crowd-funding and local diaspora investment prospects as finance options for particularly youth entrepreneurs.

All in all, the conference achieved its stated objective of raising the awareness of a range of actors and stakeholders on the importance of inspiring and empowering the youth to engage in entrepreneurship. The conference provided youth entrepreneurs and advocates the opportunity to engage and exchange views with policymakers at the highest level as well as key decision-makers from the country’s major financial institutions. The conference was also able to celebrate the achievements of renowned local youth entrepreneurs for their contribution to promote the country’s social and economic transformation and, by extension, its overall stability.