Small and Medium Enterprises coaching & counselling for SEAD West partner institutions


From 6 to 10 December the Training of Trainers (ToT) on small and medium enterprises took place virtually and in the field. Entrepreneurship expert, Vin Morar provided a two-day virtual training to provide the participants with knowledge on coaching and counselling for small and medium enterprises in Rwanda. The virtual session was followed by 3 days of field visits where the participants in pairs of two visited enterprises in Karongi, Rutsiro and Ngororero districts in Rwanda.

Initially cooperatives were simply groups of farmers cooperating voluntarily, without a clear structure. However, especially since the publication of the new law on cooperatives in Rwanda, agricultural cooperatives are becoming major actors in the economic growth of the country and are on a path of becoming full-fledged players in the private sector. At the same time, SMEs are increasing their economic activity albeit that SMEs in fragile and conflict-affected regions experience specific and unique hurdles to doing business.

In this context, SEAD West is eager to support SMEs in western province (farmers, cooperatives and agribusinesses/services) by providing a business counselling training programme that is tailored to individuals with little or no direct working experience with SME’s. The overall programme aims to develop the business counselling competencies of SEAD West partner institutions. To this effect, participants to the training programme are attending two sessions: in class learning and field assignment.

A hybrid set up to share knowledge and put theory immediately into practice
Due to the covid-19 pandemic, it was decided to provide a two-day virtual knowledge session that would then be followed by field visits of the participants to immediately be able to put the newly gained knowledge into practice. The participants all came together at one central location to follow the training togehter. MSM entrepreneurship expert, Vin Morar shared his wealth of knowledge on how to successfully coach, counsel, understand and work with enterprises supported by key concepts in entrepreneurship and small business development. The session was also aimed at identifying the skills and competencies the participants currently have to lift this to the next level in the second workshop that will take place in January or February 2022 if the pandemic allows.

During the field visits the participants were grouped in teams of two and were all to visit two small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). The SMEs visited ranged from hospitality services to among others coffee, banana and eucalyptus processing. The SMEs were all registered companies with between 4 and 35 employees. The teams who were equipped with new knowledge due to the 2-day knowledge session, had conversations with the owners and or managers of the SME businesses that were visited. The visit was aimed at getting to know more about the businesses and find out point of improvement of where the businesses could be counseled on.

After having visited the two SMEs the participants had to analyze their notes taken during the visit and wrote a report on their experience and lessons learned. These reports will be the starting point for SME training two, where Vin Morar will train the participants in person.

About SEAD West
The Rwanda Development Board (RDB) in partnership with the international consortium led by Maastricht School of Management (MSM) is implementing the SEAD West project: Strengthening Education for Agricultural Development. Through the project, the education & training institutions (IPRC Karongi, TVET Gisovu, TVET Kivumu, and TVET Bumba) are capacitated to better address the needs of the stakeholders in the agriculture sector with a focus on the Agri-Tourism value Chain.

The SEAD West project has, broadly, three lines of intervention: 1) Curriculum Development/Revision, both formal and non-formal; 2) strengthen the Applied research & innovation capacities of the partner institutions and 3) strengthen the outreach services, more specifically the offer of tailor-made training, and establishment of Service, Training, and Innovation Center in Agri-Tourism focusing on the Horticulture value chain and hospitality.

Orange Knowledge Programme
This project is part of the Orange Knowledge Programme (OKP) which is funded by the Netherlands’ Ministry of Foreign Affairs and managed by Nuffic. For more information click here.

MSM's Expert Centre for Emerging Economies

This institutional collaboration project is part of MSM's Expert Centre for Emerging Economies. The department is an expert centre on local economic development in emerging and developing markets.‚Äč We capacitate managers and professionals from government, private sector, NGOs, and post-secondary education in Africa, Asia, Middle East, and Latin America. We offer consultancy and customized training programs, and we manage complex projects in key sectors, e.g. water, agriculture and health. For more information click here.

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