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.

One Stop Shop to benefit close to 10,000 youth

As part of an ongoing partnership to provide opportunity to young people in the Somali territories, Shaqodoon, Silatech and the American Refugee Committee (ARC) have launched the Somali Youth Employment and Entrepreneurship Program (SYEEP), an effort to bridge the gap between job seekers and the local business community. The primary component of the SYEEP program is the establishment of specially-designed “One Stop Shop” (OSS) centres for youth employment and business support services. One OSS is in the process of being open in each of the main Somali cities of Hargeisa, Bossaso and Mogadishu.
Silatech is a regional social initiative that works throughout the 22 Arab League countries to promote large-scale job creation, entrepreneurship, access to capital and markets, the participation and engagement of young people in economic and social development. Shaqodoon is a Somali 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.

Although they comprise around two-thirds of the labour force, the unemployment rate among young Somalis is one of the highest in the world; according to a 2012 UNDP report, unemployment among Somalis aged 14-29 was 67 percent. Traditional formal-sector entry points into the workforce for Somali youth are very limited, and jobs leading to careers are scarce. Therefore, there is a growing need in Somalia to support the entry of youth into informal-sector employment.
Located in the main city centres, and easily accessible to both youth and employers, these One Stop Shops will serve as knowledge, advice and career guidance hubs for young job seekers and entrepreneurs, as well as for business owners looking for skilled youth. OSS services for job seekers will include soft skills training (CV writing, interview practice, communications, etc.), career guidance and work placement, and financial literacy training. Young entrepreneurs will be able to access entrepreneurship training, business development services, and linkages with partner microfinance institutions.

According to Mohamed Hassan Nur, Executive Director of Shaqodoon, linked the One Stop Shops to decreasing the massive youth unemployment that plagues the Somali territories, noting “Through this important program, this service will greatly contribute in decreasing the high unemployment of youth in the region.”

Silatech Director of Microenterprise Justin Sykes stressed the importance of Shaqodoon’s services to Somali youth, stating that “Given the staggering levels of youth unemployment that the Somali territories face, the holistic youth training and support services that Shaqodoon offers are precisely the innovative types of solutions needed to demonstrate that youth can be effectively empowered to become productive members of society.”

President and CEO of the American Refugee Committee Daniel Wordsworth said “The Somalia we know is entrepreneurial in spirit and reality. We are excited to join Silatech and Shaqodoon in preparing youth to enter Somalia’s thriving business community.”

The program will make use of existing SMS-based platform to connect young people directly with jobs, internships and training opportunities, while around 300 private sector employers will be registered and trained to participate in Shaqodoon’s own employment platform.

Supported by Silatech and ARC, the Somali Youth Employment and Entrepreneurship Program (SYEEP) builds on Shaqodoon’s existing Job and Business Information Service Centre (JBISC), as well as its training and support services to youth and employers. After their initial setup, these One Stop Shops will operate as social enterprises, charging reasonable market prices for their services (to youth, businesses and employers) and reinvesting any profits to ensure future sustainability.

SYEEP follows from past Silatech-Shaqodoon collaborations, which have focused on technical and vocational education and training, “Build Your Business” entrepreneurship training, as well as financial literacy, conflict resolution, and work readiness programs. In summer 2013, Shaqodoon and Silatech launched Somaliland’s first televised business plan competition for youth. Over 100 business plans were submitted, while in a nationally televised event in October 2013, eight finalists pitched their business ideas to a panel of respected businesses and community leaders. Winners received a package of training, mentoring and micro-grants to get their businesses off the ground.

Shaqodoon organizes regional employment conference

On 24th and 27th April, 2014 SHAQODOON Organization with support from Save the Children International (SCI), held two inclusive youth employment conferences in Borama (AWDAL) at Rays Hotel, and Barwaqo Hotel, Berbera, Sahel region. The main objective of the conferences was to bring together leading academicians, policy makers, business leaders and development planners in Somaliland to advocate in promoting job opportunities for youth and advance necessary policies for future planning to promote youth employment and participation in the economic development of the country.

The conferences were well attended and featured a variety of presentations, lectures, group discussion and brainstorming session among participants. Participants at the conferences shared ideas in the current employment challenges and barriers as well as resources and existing policies pertaining to youth and youth entrepreneurs.

During the conference, participants were divided in to different groups with various training specialties and experiences that included, local council members, business leaders, youth entrepreneurs, youth job seekers, local organization and academicians dissect regional employment challenges in general and that of youth in particular. The groups brainstormed, analyzed and presented the employment challenges as well as exploring available opportunities overcome unemployment in each of the regions.

The main findings from the workshops included; participants stating that a clear disconnect of the skills provided by the TVET and the higher universities to the market-driven opportunities available. Businesses identified that they have to look elsewhere to find the skills they need for manufacturing and other business skill needed. The businesses emphasized that the problem is not only lack of experience which many of the businesses are willing to provide but it is the minimum requirement which is not there in the training institutions

Laying the Foundation for Start ups in Somalia/Land

Ahmed Ali Jama is a program specialist at Shaqodoon Organization, Shaqodoon is the official GEW host organization in Somalia. Over the course of the last eight months, he has run a successful training program for hundreds of young entrepreneurs throughout Somalia to help combat the country’s rising youth unemployment rate.
Jama shared his thoughts with us on entrepreneurship in Somalia and what lies ahead for GEW 2014.

When and how did Shaqodoon first get involved in Global Entrepreneurship Week?
After hearing about GEW from our Qatar partner Silatech, Shaqodoon joined GEW in 2013 as the host organization for Somalia. We saw getting involved in GEW as a great opportunity to promote and foster the culture of entrepreneurship in Somalia and further incubate and nurture entrepreneurial youth. Over the past few months, Shaqodoon has hosted a number of events to inspire Somali youth to awaken their entrepreneurial spirit. We have used different mechanisms including:

  • Countrywide radio-based weekly entrepreneurship programs with public SMS participation;
  • Television programming supporting entrepreneurship;
  • Networking and matchmaking events; and
  • Employment and entrepreneurship trainings.

Why is Global Entrepreneurship Week important—overall and to Somalia, specifically?
GEW fosters a positive culture of entrepreneurship, something that we desperately need in Somalia. It empowers ambitious young people to lead their conflict-stricken communities into prosperity.
Last year, Shaqodoon partnered with the University of Hargeisa and brought together youths, entrepreneurs, innovators and investors for a handful of GEW events that sought to incubate business ideas and teach participants how creating businesses can transform lives. Keynote speakers of these GEW events included professors and businessmen.

These events impacted thousands of potential entrepreneurs willing to start their own businesses and through GEW events, they learnt the basic ideas, activities and skills needed to successfully launch and grow small businesses. Additionally, as part of GEW, Shaqodoon, Silatech and Bulsho TV partnered to launch Somalia’s first Business Plan Competition for youth. A two-part documentary was aired nationally and internationally in November 2013 reaching thousands of Somali youth, entrepreneurs in the Somali Territories and the Somali Diaspora.

What are the key differences in entrepreneurship in a developed nation and entrepreneurship in a developing country?

The key differences are that in developed nations, entrepreneurs are able to easily access start-up capital, free education, free mentoring and quality business development services. Entrepreneurs in developing nations are experiencing a lot of difficulties including, business duplication, limited access to capital, too much red tape and entrepreneurs don’t get the chance to take entrepreneurship trainings to explore their potential. I have observed in Somalia that many young entrepreneurs who have excellent ideas seek to support themselves and their families by starting their own business but often don’t have the skills, confidence or knowledge to be successful.

Are there challenges or barriers that you would like to overcome to increase participation?

In the past, our private sector has been reluctant to sponsor GEW events, but I would like to overcome that barrier using innovative ways of communication and strategies to engage sponsors this year.

What event(s) are you most looking forward to for GEW 2014?

I am looking forward to Women’s Entrepreneurship Day (WED), the first global day focused on female entrepreneurship that will be held November 19, 2014. WED aims to bring together female Somali entrepreneurs, young women who are eager move ahead through self-employment and entrepreneurship activities, start-up financing institutions from several sectors, mentors, business development service providers and professors to showcase female owned businesses. Three successful Somali women entrepreneurs will present motivational lectures during WED to share their business experiences and inspire aspiring female entrepreneurs.

What kind of tools are available in Somalia for a person with no experience whatsoever in business? Is there a role for government to play in the process?

In Somalia, there are no government efforts supporting entrepreneurship activities, but Shaqodoon has secured, with the support of Silatech, a number of entrepreneurship materials. These include:

  • Build Your Business, an entrepreneurship training course designed to introduce young people to the basic ideas, actions, and skills needed to successfully launch, lead, and grow a micro or small business produced by Microsoft with partnering from the International Youth Foundation,
  • Financial Literacy, a practical financial guidance produced by Silatech; and
  • Tahmeed Psychometric Assessments.

The Shaqodoon program team has also developed some entrepreneurship materials including mentorship training materials and work readiness skills training materials that we make available to entrepreneurs.

Who are the local stars promoting entrepreneurship in your country?

Some influential players in Somalia are:

  • Havoyogo, a company that provides sanitation, counselling, education and vocational training in Somalia.
  • Kaaba, a micro finance institution and financial service provider that aims to strengthen the economic base of the low-income women and youth in Somaliland.
  • Dahabshil Bank, a full service Islamic Bank licensed by Somalia. The bank′s primary markets are in the Horn of Africa and the Somali Diaspora in the Gulf Region, Western Europe and North America. The bank combines world-class customer service, the highest ethical standards of Sharia and the latest technology, to bring cost-effective products and services to its customer base.

How do we create an environment for more entrepreneurs to be successful in Somalia and beyond?

Promoting a positive environment for entrepreneurs begins by enabling motivated entrepreneurs to access start-up capital and facilitating a broad range of services. These services include high-quality mentoring, ongoing support and providing entrepreneurship trainings and fellowships to get more experience in real life business operations. We need to facilitate linkages to potential mentors and investors, stimulate entrepreneurs’ potential and create successful short term and long term goals and strategies. If an entrepreneur is passionate, skillful, confident, dedicated, committed to explore their own potential, then perhaps that entrepreneur will be successful.

Registration of 6,000+ out of work and hard to reach youth begins

Shaqodoon organization has organized youth registration for different regions of Somaliland to carry out a planned NED activities for Voter education project, trainings was conducted for 6 civil society organizations in HAWD region and registration of 1378 hard to reach youth or at risk in BALIGUBADLE town, youths who are considered to be marginalized such as school dropout, minority groups, work force youth, and those who have no access to education who are either financial difficulties or who have family issues, meeting with local authorities was set to support long and short term Shaqodoon strategy plan and objectives towards youth development, education and employment in HAWD region.

Youth Registration.
Registration of 1378 hard to reach youth or at risk in HAWD region was successfully completed, the consultant assigned to NED project activities, started identifying 3 active youths from BALIGUBADLE district town, they were asked to who carry out the registration after Shaqodoon project coordinator gave them orientation and instructions on how to conduct ethical registration process, registration process started on 7th January 2014, although they faced minor challenges, they had managed to register 459 youth average per day. Moreover, volunteers managed to reach the whole town, they had successfully started working and all volunteers managed to carry out their assignment and Shaqodoon team travelled to BALIGUBADLE being monitoring activities going.

Civil Society Organizations Training
NED main project activities was to undertaken 6 civil society organizations trainings on Shaqodoon Info Match system, this services allowed for job to be advertised, jobs to be search and offered job matching surveys as well as alerts using Telesom gateway.

Progressively, this training was held for 6 civil society organizations including QALINMAAL, TAWFIIQ, DAMAL, HORSEED, ALLE-AAMIN and HYDO; the training took place at ALHAYAD HOTEL, participants learned and online practiced Shaqodoon’s InfoMarch, they exercised small surveys and alerts, they have also explored the various feature of InfoMarch, including job search, user interface, and more

Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) Launch in Somalia/Land

GEW (Global Entrepreneurship Week)

Global Entrepreneurship Week is the world’s largest celebration of the innovators and job creators who launch startups that bring ideas to life, drive economic growth and expand human welfare.
Every year in November GEW celebrates one week festivities to inspire people everywhere through local, national and global activities designed to help them explore their potential self-starters and innovators. These activities, from large-scale competitions and events to cherish networking – gatherings, connect participants to potential collaborators, mentors and even investors; introducing them to new possibilities and exciting opportunities.
The initiative launched in 2008 and has since grown to 125 countries—with 24,008 partner organizations planning 33,846 activities that directly engage millions of participants every year.

Global Entrepreneurship Week continues to attract and engage high-profile entrepreneurs who are enthusiastic to share their personal experiences and insights, including Richard Branson, Michael Dell, Russell Simmons, Muhammad Yunus, Mark Cuban and others. Meanwhile, world leaders on each continent and local elected officials alike have embraced the campaign, through proclamations as well as participation, as they look to fuel the economic engine of high-growth startups in their own countries and communities.

However, GEW is more than just an awareness campaign supported by world leaders and celebrity entrepreneurs. It is about unleashing ideas and doing what it takes to bring them to life, spotting opportunities, taking risks, solving problems, being creative, building connections and learning from both failure and success. It is about thinking big and making your mark on the world doing well while doing well at the same time.

GEW- Somaliland

Somaliland has been approved to be part of the Global Entrepreneurship Week and Shaqodoon Organization has been nominated as the host for GEW activities in Somaliland this year. For the first time, in Somaliland, we are going to bring together entrepreneurs, youth, mentors and investors to incubate business.

It is important to understand that fostering culture of entrepreneurship in Somaliland is highly needed. With your collaboration, we are going to held GEW during the week November 23rd -28th 2013 in Hargeisa for the first time. Shaqodoon Organization believes that GEW event should be home grown and ideas that are valuable and worth investing from young entrepreneurs and business communities to be head there will be

different events organized by different organizations in Hargeisa these organization are include

Shaqodoon organization
University of Hargeisa
Kaaba MFI

These organizations will held events and offer services that are helpful to the youth. Some of the featured events to be launched include:

Launch of GEW Somaliland
Mentoring for future entrepreneurs
Role of women in micro-enterprise in Somaliland
Failing and forward business startups failures
Applying for microfinance grants
Successful youth entrepreneurs in Somaliland
And many more

Shaqodoon Organizes First Somaliland Job Fair

Shaqodoon organization and steering committee for the national employment conference and job fair, this was the first event ever held in Somaliland where employers and jobseekers had the opportunity to meet and network together.
The Job Fair brought together different sectors of the community, where jobs internships and trainings opportunities where showcased.

The job fair was officially launched by the president of the republic of Somaliland H.E Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo, where he visited every table in the job fair where businesses displayed opportunities and services related to employment.

The president thanked the event organizers and encouraged private sector businesses to recruit young people. His excellenece mentioned that his government is committed in creating jobs for Somaliland youth. Adnan Hagoog of Shaqodoon showed the president & his entourage to every table where businesses and organizations were exhibiting job opportunities and training materials. Youth business plan competition was held for youth who participated and Shaqodon organization facilitated and awarded grants to winners, this business plan competition evolved from build your business (BYB) which is enterprise development training sessions that Shaqodoon organization runs.

The number of direct jobs displayed in the job fair where 68 jobs, 4 internships, the direct jobs where to be filled within 3 months after the job fair, 200 training opportunities in technology and living skills was identified also. In the job fair 41 employers (businesses) and 18 organizations were providing services related to employment.

The two day event was full of encouragement and networking between employers and job seekers. Also there was a seminar room in front of the Job Fair hall which presentations were held. The seminar room discussions fed the national employment conference in number of ways, for the first time there was discussion and debate between employers (private sector), training providers (Universities, TVETS) and Jobseekers (graduates) about labour market issues, hot topics such as market demand skills, quality of education, mindsets of young people and promoting fair employment among employers.

Other presentations included the role of civil society in creating jobs, showcasing successful business entrepreneurs, panel discussions on build your business and entrepreneurship, there was also real life stories on Tahreeb and impact it has on the country and young people. Two inspiring youths talked about their experience trying to reach the west in the hope of better life and the obstacles they have faced. This event showed the need for inclusive engagement between employers and jobseekers also the demand of employment opportunities is very high for example around 3000 jobseekers attended the Job Fair and the number of opportunities in Somaliland was showcased.

This event highlighted the need for inclusive engagement between employers and jobseekers, demand for skilled force is on the high across all sectors either private or public. An estimated 3,000 jobseekers attended the Job Fair, on average 22 people were competing for each available opportunities advertised. In the next couple of weeks Shaqodoon will conduct follow up with all employers who attended the job fair to find out who they have employed and this will be updated in Shaqodoon’s InfoMatch System