Home CSR/CSI Nourishing Africa closes COVID-19 entrepreneur support program (ESP)

Nourishing Africa closes COVID-19 entrepreneur support program (ESP)

by Emmanuel Ogundele
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The Nourishing AfricaEntrepreneur Support Program, launched in partnership with the Mastercard Foundation, which focuses on small-scale enterprises, is currently wrapping up activities for the initiative. The initiative started in December 2020 and has trainedover 1,000 young Nigerian agri-food entrepreneurs, helping themto improve their business operations and become resilient and adaptive agribusinesses.

The program,targeted atyoung people between the ages of 20 and 40 (57% of which are women),is engaged in critical food and cash crops and livestock value chains, from the provision of inputs and primary production to processing, logistics, storage, and distribution in 11 states in Nigeria: Abia Anambra, Delta, Edo, FCT, Kaduna, Kano, Lagos, Ogun, Osun, and Oyo states.

The program has provided knowledge and support to these Nigerian grassroots SMEs to help them pivot and recover from the effects of COVID-19 on their businesses, keeping employees engaged and assisting them toemerge from this crisis even stronger.

By leveraging technology and innovation, Nourishing Africa developed the Entrepreneur Support Program consisting of a Business Resilience Diagnostic Tool.The tool enabled agri-businesses to assess the health of theircompanies and the capabilities of their leaders – both pre- and during the COVID-19 pandemic. Titled ‘Agribusiness Entrepreneur Development,’ the seminar was an intensive 12-day virtual training for participants to understand their business operations and value chain activities as agri-food MSMEs.

The training was critical to increasing the resilience, growth, profitability, and sustainability of the Nigerian agri-food businesses. The program has fulfilled these critical aspects of the initial program design and achieved impact through these multi-pronged interventions.

Nourishing Africa remains committed to providing ongoing support to these agri-food entrepreneurs and others across the country and continent to maintain existing growth paths, strengthen their capacities, and acceleratetheir business growth. This support will bechanneled through the Nourishing Africa online resource and data Hub – the Membership Community and vibrant network. The team will continue to facilitate strategic convenings and workshops to transfer knowledge and create resilient agribusinesses. Activities such as the First Thursday monthly sessions bring together entrepreneurs and other critical stakeholdersto engage in a peer-to-peer exchange of insights, build knowledge and skills, and discover new solutions to shared challenges.

Currently, Nourishing Africa supports over 4,000 agri-food SMEs across 37 African countries, providing knowledge, data, funding,  advertising opportunities, access to new markets, and a community of like-minded agripreneursto partner for long-term success and impact.

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