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SING trains women digital entrepreneurs in Port-Gentil

17.07.19 Studies

In March 2019, as part of the Antô Business exhibition, the SING held workshops for women in entrepreneurship in Port-Gentil. This 2-day training allowed local women from other cities in Gabon to rediscover their own businesses, to learn about the tools adapted for the development of their businesses or the implementation.

This training mission entrusted to the SING by the Golden Women association follows a simple observation : in cities such as Port-Gentil, few actions are carried out to encourage female entrepreneurship.

Entrepreneurship and the business environment in Port-Gentil : our observation

What disparities are observed between the business environment in Port-Gentil and that of cities such as Libreville? The entire panel, composed of :

  • Elvis Hassan GANDOURH (CEO of the CNSS Port-Gentil)
  • Gabriel TCHANGO (Mayor of Port-Gentil)
  • Marie-Delphine LEMANGA (Resident Representative at BDEAC)
  • Djeneba DICKO Epse YENO (Representative of the Golden Women Association in Port-Gentil)
  • Pépécy OGOULIGUENDE (CEO of the Chamber of Commerce of Agriculture, of industry and crafts in Gabon),

all agreed on the fact that some State administrations are almost non-existent in Port-Gentil, which does not facilitate the administrative procedures of entrepreneurs. Another point raised is access to information, since the isolation of the city is, in their opinion, a barrier to access to information. Finally, they noted a weakness in networking. According to them, the entrepreneurs of Port-Gentil are much more individualistic and less interested in meeting other entrepreneurs, contrary to those in Libreville, for example.

What actions are being taken to support VSEs / SMEs in Port-Gentil ?

To this question, some respondents answered:

  • Awareness-raising on the importance of business procedures and formalization ;
  • The establishment by the CNSS of a process to inform the population of Port-Gentil about the advantages of registration with this administration. This information is indeed disseminated through spots that loop through the city's billboards and leaflets ;
  • Training enabling these entrepreneurs to develop properly and sustain their activities ;
  • Training also on women's leadership, and personal development ;
  • A project to create an approved centre at the level of the Chamber of Commerce, allowing companies to meet to develop management and administration issues ;
  • Easy access to financing for VSEs/ SMEs, the State, represented by the Minister for SMEs, considering creating a guarantee fund.

SING in action for women entrepreneurship in Port-Gentil

The objectives of our 2-day training mission were as follows:

  • To train fifty (50) women in digital entrepreneurship and innovation techniques ;
  • To give participants digital tools to facilitate the digital transformation or integration of their businesses ;
  • To adapt these practical aspects to the local women entrepreneurship promotion program ;
  • To make recommendations for the design of a local skills management model for women entrepreneurship.

We chose to conduct Design Thinking Workshops, a set of methods that make it possible to solve an innovation problem or manage an innovation project by applying an approach similar to that of the designer. This method, which takes into account the expectations, habits, as well as the emotions of the user, takes place in 5 steps: empathy, definition, ideation, prototyping and testing. Each step was discussed in depth using concrete examples and proven tools. Participants became familiar with :

  • An empathy map, to help them go beyond the demographic characteristics of their customers ;
  • The Business Model Canvas, to enable them to take stock of a company's business model ;
  • The value proposition, to describe their products and services and to highlight their added value for customers ;

Practical exercises were able to clarify several grey areas and dispel some of the confusion that often blocks entrepreneurs. For example, many confuse the notions of need and problem.

On the one hand, these women were able to restructure their various business projects, either individually or as a team on March 7 and 8, 2019. Each has contributed to the projects of the others. Together, they were able to highlight the problems they face on a daily basis. And on the other hand, SING was able to drawn solutions that can be exploited immediately.

More motivated and with clearer objectives, these women with brilliant ideas from all walks of life have shown the importance, but also the efficiency, a contribution of expertise in cities within the country. Unfortunately marginalized as to this kind of initiative, these cities are full of talent ready to be digitally trained, take the reins of entrepreneurship and seize the opportunities.

 

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