SACA organized a two days entrepreneurship workshop for rural youth and women of Kalaba community in Okordia-Zarama Cluster, on the 4th and 5th of February, 2019 at Kalaba town hall. The workshop, funded by Misean Cara of Ireland, was delivered by the Bioresources Development Center (BIODEC) of the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, located in Odi in Bayelsa State.
The objective of the workshop was to build the capacity of the most vulnerable members (women /youth) in the community in entrepreneurship, impart on them the rudiments of business management and enable them make informed choices of the kind of businesses they would like to be trained in by SACA in some on-coming short skills training programs, also sponsored by Misean Cara.
Opening the workshop on the first day, Mr. Chidi Usanga of SACA urged the participants to think out of the box and outside of the prevalent dependence on oil/gas and the attendance tendency to endanger their lives by bursting high pressure oil/gas pipelines, noting that “the oil economy is a lazy economy and the typical Niger Delta man or woman was known to be a hardworking fisherman and farmer until the oil industry came and destroyed people’s mindset in the region.” Mr. Usanga went ahead and introduced the 3 resource persons from BIODEC led by the Head of Training Department, Mr. Etta Tawor.
Mr. Tawor himself led in the first session of the first day. He introduced the participants to various agro-businesses that yield a lot of revenue even though they were ignored by majority of society, hinting that the businesses that people generally avoid happen to be the most lucrative ones. He went further to describe in details some of them that could be started on very low budget with minimal resources in that locality, but which are in high demand, such as mushroom production, snail production, grasscutter production, various species of fish, etc. He gave overviews of the processes in each of them from the acquisition of inputs, nursery to maturation, harvesting and marketing, including various value chains associated with each. Finally, Mr. Tawor trained the participants on Business Planning, introducing them to feasibility study and simple business plan development. He broke down everything to their level as had been requested by SACA.
The second session for the first day was on Personnel Management for Rural Entrepreneurs and it was taught by Mr. Maxwell Agbalalah, also of BIODEC. Mr. Agbalalah also brought down technical concepts in organizational psychology to levels the rural women and youths could understand and explained to them how to identify potentials in the individual differences in people around them, including even the strangest characteristics or the weirdest of people, and turn them to profitable use. With pictures of different kinds of personalities, he took time to illustrate to them how to energize a work team through incentives, harnessing of talents, including funny characters and introduction in part-ownership (equity). Setting up an interactive session, he divided the participants into 5 groups and asked each of them to form a mock cooperative society, discuss and come up with a workable business idea, preferring different methods to start, electing CEO’s/managers, growing the business and sharing the dividends, as well as outlining their short term and long term plans.
The second day started with Basic Book Keeping for Rural Farmers. It was taught by Dennis Sibo, also of BIODEC. Mr. Sibo introduced the participants to farm records and explained various techniques for data entry and maintaining the records, including feed logs, vendors lists, payments and receipts, credits and debits, stressing that they don’t have to be elaborate like what accountants do. He showed them samples of simple farm records including budgets and expenditure records, both the manual and the computerized ones. In an interactive session, he led the participants to analyze existing simple ledgers and create new ones.
The second day ended with the trainees categorization session for the different areas of on-coming specialization, namely, Mobile Phone Repair, Cosmetics & Household Antiseptics Production, Snail Farming, Fish Farming and Introduction to Welding/Fabrication. This exercise was carried out by SACA staff led by Mr. Chidi Usanga. It was a one-on-one private question and answer session to determine each participant’s area of interest where he/she was most likely to commit all his/her energy and passion. Selections to each training category were based on each candidate’s answers to questions drawn from the general entrepreneurship training sessions that were just concluded, on the background of the candidate and on the candidates’ indicated interest areas vis-a-vis SACA’s budget for each skills category.