© Helvetas / Flurina Rothenberger
Benin

Encouraging Rural Youth to Become Entrepreneurs

© Helvetas / Flurina Rothenberger

In the rural context of northern Benin, the lack of employment opportunities and adequate training prevents young people from realizing their potential. Helvetas works to awaken the entrepreneurial spirit of rural youth and supports them in developing new ideas through a network of local experts.

  • Project Name
    Anfanni - Dare to Be an Entrepreneur
  • Project Phase
    2021 to 2023
  • Funding
    Donations, contributions, SDC programme contribution
  • Thematic focus
    Private Sector Development

Rural youth with entrepreneurial spirit

In northern Benin, young people, especially young women, have little chance of finding employment that allows them to develop and become self-sufficient. Agriculture is the most important economic activity, but it is often not profitable and attractive enough. However, the demand for food products by the urban population is increasing, which offers good prospects for development. 

This is why Helvetas' «Anfanni - Dare to be an entrepreneur» project encourages young people to go beyond the subsistence family farm and start their own business to offer new products adapted to the changing consumer habits of their customers. In order to achieve this vision, it is necessary to increase the confidence of young people in the exploitation of local resources and to offer them appropriate, rapid and practical training courses.

© Helvetas/Stephane Brabant
Young people receive the know-how to become successful young entrepreneurs. © Helvetas/Stephane Brabant
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© Helvetas/Stephane Brabant
If producers continue to process the harvest, they can make a higher profit from it. © Helvetas/Stephane Brabant
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© Helvetas / Flurina Rothenberger
Breaking new ground in agriculture, which brings more income and more pride in one's own work. © Helvetas / Flurina Rothenberger
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© Helvetas/Flurina Rothenberger
Farmers sell their organic vegetables on a subscription basis to urban families - a business model with a future. © Helvetas/Flurina Rothenberger
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During the first phase of the project, Helvetas trained and accompanied 1,342 young people in small-scale livestock farming (poultry and pig farming) and food processing. 

In the second phase, the project is working to strengthen the skills and professionalism of local experts, so that they can provide training to youth in the different communities and provide better services to agricultural businesses, thus contributing to local economic development. 

A vibrant market is essential for start-ups to thrive and create jobs. The project focuses on building capacity and marketing opportunities for agricultural products through the development of trade networks and the use of digital platforms to facilitate promotion and sales.

© Flurina Rothenberger
A young farmer attracts seedlings of new vegetables that are in demand on the market. © Flurina Rothenberger
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© Flurina Rothenberger
In order to learn entrepreneurial thinking, the young farmers press the school bench. © Flurina Rothenberger
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© Flurina Rothenberger
The learners of a training course with their documents, women are given special attention and young mothers can also participate in the programme. © Flurina Rothenberger
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© Helvetas / Flurina Rothenberger
The two young entrepreneurs sell everything they need for organic vegetable cultivation in their business. © Helvetas / Flurina Rothenberger
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Private Sector Development

Youth need access to reliable, fairly paid jobs to break the cycle of poverty. Helvetas creates partnerships and promotes policies that build more inclusive economies.

How Helvetas Supports People in Benin

Helvetas focuses its efforts in Benin on education and occupational integration and on the supply of clean drinking water.

Multimedia Story: Benin’s Urban Farmers

Find out how growing organic vegetables has changed day-to-day life for the better for many smallholders in Benin.