The BeniBiz project sets up for each cohort of entrepreneurs supported (training and coaching), a cash reward mechanism consisting of awarding around 50 Entrepreneurs/cohort, including 35 from component 1 (Micros, Small and Medium Enterprises) and 16 from component 2 (Small and Medium Enterprises). This award is a non-repayable grant awarded to the best MSMEs and SMEs who have recorded excellent performance in the adoption of management practices at the end of the BeniBiz support program, for the quality of the implementation of the skills acquired during training and the exemplary of the entrepreneur. The amount of the reward varies from 500,000 to 1,000,000 FCFA for MSMEs and 2,000,000 FCFA for SMEs. The companies eligible for this award are those admitted to aftercare (more in-depth coaching after the training and coaching period). The basic criterias for the awarding are as follows:
1) Quality / Management tools: good keeping of the cash journal, regularity in the establishment of the profit and loss account, relevance of the decisions taken on the basis of the company's figures (financial planning), existence of an operational bank account different from the personal account of the entrepreneur.
2) Financial Performance: steady growth in turnover, positive net results over the support period;
3) Planning the growth of the company: planning objectives, existence of a relevant growth plan, existence of a strategy to finance growth, etc.....
4) Marketing Strategy: existence of a marketing plan, regular updating of the marketing strategy; continuous improvement of the customer experience;
5) Quality of the entrepreneur: control of his sales pitch, transmission of financial data; commitments to implement the growth plan even in the absence of external funding.
During the October 2019 month, the Business Advisors of the BeniBiz project are therefore issuing checks to entrepreneurs of cohort 1, in the 11 operations departments of the project. These funds will allow beneficiaries to further increase their business!
See some pictures below!
Founder and keeper of a farm of 640 hens at Missérété, located 50 km from Cotonou, Samuel has benefited from the BeniBiz program for SMEs, Small and Medium Enterprises. Quarantine and married to Prisca, Samuel is father of a little boy. He works with his wife and 3 occasional employees. With BeniBiz trainings and coaching, he now has an clear (figures) view of the management of his farm, that is to say the suppression of unnecessary expenses, sales follow-up, planning.
« Before, I did not care about numbers, I managed blindly. But with BeniBiz, my management is more rigorous, which allowed me to increase my turnover of 446% in 6 months. » Samuel EHAHOUN.
The better management of his farm leading to improved sales has allowed Samuel to expand his business to rabbit breeding for which he has been able to rent additional space. Moreover, thanks to the savings made after the BeniBiz trainings and coaching, he decided to buy 2000 chickens in addition to the current number. Moreover, he was able to give a business to Prisca, his wife to start the sale of charcoal bags and details. He was also able to hire one more employee to strengthen his workforce.
« When he started the BeniBiz courses and their practice, we saw an upward change in his income. Before, I worked with him on the farm without salaries; but now, not only does he pay me each end of the month, but he also helped me start my coal business.» Prisca LOKOSSOU, wife of Samuel.
Before BeniBiz, Samuel and his wife faced the lack of money in during the month; but with the management techniques learned from BeniBiz, that is to say the determination of his costs, the calculation of his profit, the fruiting of its revenues with more sales, etc ..., Samuel manages better his farm and his family is doing very well.
Grocer and restaurant Manager, Errose, forty, is a very dedicated mother. Based in Lokossa, a town located 102 km from Cotonou, she is one of the beneficiaries of the BeniBiz project for the SME component. With trainings and coachings, she now distinguishes her revenues and expenses by section grocery-restoration. She recruits and pays her employees monthly. She manages her business better.
«BeniBiz trainings have improved a lot of things in my company. I save my revenues and expenses separately, I do not recruit day-to-day, but I employ people and pay them monthly.» Errose ASSAGBA
Prior to BeniBiz training, Errose employed 2 permanent and 2 occasional employees. Currently, she employs 6 occasionnal and 6 permanent, given the volume of sales that increased by 75% in 6 months of BeniBiz training and coaching. This growth was favored in particular by the identification of new sales opportunities in public and private administrations and services to which Errose goes for prospecting and offering her services and also does the marketing of her food products.
« BeniBiz motivated me to get out of my comfort zone to find customers in offices. This allowed me to record an increase of my turnover of 75%.» Errose ASSAGBA
From now on, Errose manages her business better, is more relaxed on the financial side, feels more independent, and better supports the needs of her children. Two of them, Ernesta and Ernesto, assist her when they are not at school.
« Before, when we asked Mother for something, she just did her best to satisfy us, but that was not enough for us. But since she became a beneficiary of BeniBiz, her business is better and she gives us enough. The improvement in our family life is palpable. » Ernesta ASSAGBA, daughter of Errose.
Dressmaker in his thirties, and father of a family of 3 children, Norbert is married to Denise. He discovered the BeniBiz program which has offered him 4 trainings and 4 coachings from February 2019 in Porto Novo, city located 37 km from Cotonou. These trainings enabled him to identify the management errors he was making. Thus, he learned how to better manage his business, distinguish business funds and personal funds.
« BeniBiz training has changed my life and my perception of business management a lot. I realized that I have to apply the techniques learned. At Micros, Small & Medium Enterprises, I say to remember that BeniBiz rhymes with the change of life. I highly recommend this program » Norbert ASSOGBA.
Norbert now keeps a record of his purchases and sales, which allows him to determine exactly his monthly turnover that he did not even know before. With the evolution noted on his revenue, He can thus plan the expenses relating to his home, save money for the improvement of his standard of life and the evolution of his children.
«BeniBiz taught me how to plan spending in my home. I can then save for schooling and the health of my children. I'm able to buy furniture in my living room at home; my visitors and my family are more comfortable. »
With the marketing techniques learned from BeniBiz, Norbert initiated a promotion in his sewing salon. He has made and posted to the address of existing and potential customers a banner '' 5 Complets ie top and pants or top and skirt ordered, 1 free for two months ''. This promotion allowed him to record a lot of orders and achieve a strong growth of his turnover compared to his life before BeniBiz.
The most important issue about Norbert is that he has relayed and taught BeniBiz's techniques to his wife, who is also better managing her micro-business, selling various food products.
«In the past, my trade in various food products was not really profitable, especially because of sales on credit. But with BeniBiz lessons transmitted by my husband, I devoted myself to selling cash condiments and hairdressing. My income has improved. I can easily afford my children's shoes and clothes. » Denise MONNOU, wife of Norbert.
The BeniBiz trainings followed by their implementation had an impact not only on Norbert's entrepreneurial life, but also on his family life. Denise, his wife now manages to contribute to the expenses of the home thanks to the improvement of her income favored by the application of BeniBiz techniques relayed to her by her husband.
The Beninese government has set a target of exporting 300 000 tons of cashew nuts per year from 2021. In a context of climate change and the need to increase agricultural production to feed an ever-growing population, it is important, in order to achieve this goal sustainably, to promote climate-smart agriculture. Unfortunately, in the cashew sector, there is very little data on producers and practices adopted and on the state of cashew plantations in Benin. Aware of the potential of drone technology to improve the performance of agricultural sectors in Benin, TechnoServe Benin, in partnership with Global Partners, has been implementing since June 2019 in Benin, an innovative project called CajùLab (Mapping by drone for intelligent climate-related cashew production), financed by Wehubit (a digital development program) from Enabel (the Belgian Development Agency).
CajùLab aims to use drone mapping to promote climate-smart agriculture in the cashew nut sector. This large-scale project was presented on October 1rst 2019 at the TechnoServe Office in Cotonou in the presence of around a hundred participants including the TechnoServe Benin Staff, the IMPACT team from TechnoServe Inc, the press and about fifty representatives members companies of the Africa Goes Digital Consortium to participate in the capitalization workshop of experiences of use of drones in Africa which is held from October 1rst to 5th 2019 in Cotonou. Organized jointly by Technoserve Benin and Global Partners, a local company providing digital solutions in agriculture, the presentation session aimed to share the new project with the various experts present, to learn from other countries' experiences, receive suggestions for better organizing and implementing the data collection and analysis phase of the CajùLab project. The project will use drones and artificial intelligence to assess land use and management of cashew plantations, and identify areas of high environmental degradation. This will help better target producers who need capacity building in climate-smart agriculture.
« We aim to digitize the agricultural sector by modernizing the techniques of popularization, collection and analysis of statistical data, using ICTs, promoting mobile payments in the agricultural sector and digital traceability of products. To this end, TechnoServe works closely with the Territorial Agency for Agricultural Development Pole 4 (ATDA4) responsible for the cashew industry to use drones by targeting the producers that are needed, and thus ensure a better use of public resources with rapid and effective monitoring and evaluation. Through this public-private partnership, we intend to contribute to two aspects of the PAG, in particular the rapid growth of the cashew sector, and the digital sector at the center of Benin's development to make the country a platform for digital services. »James OBAROWSKI, Country Director of TechnoServe Benin.
Some technical details were also provided to the participants by Dr. Abdelaziz LAWANI, Managing Director of Global Partners: «UAVs offer images of greater precision than satellite images and are cheaper given the area to be mapped. In addition, compared to pineapple, the recognition of cashew trees will be easier to the algorithm that will be developed given the size of cashew trees.»
The project coordinator, Arsène Agossadou, gave the participants more details about the project. He said the implementation of CajùLab will put TechnoServe and its local partners in a leading position in the large-scale use of drones in agriculture.
As part of this project, an action plan will be developed to promote climate-smart agriculture in the production of cashew nuts in Benin. In addition, about 10,000 producers will be trained on environmentally farming practices. This will increase productivity sustainably while maximizing the environmental benefits of cashew production. The exchanges following the interventions corroborated the interest of the participants in the project given the different questions and suggestions made by the participants. According to Mr Giacomo Rambaldi, Principal Coordinator of the ICT Program at the Technical Center for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation ACP-EU (CTA) in Wageningen (the Netherlands), the widespread use of drones in Africa is to be strongly encouraged given climate change and the huge business opportunities this presents for young people like mobile phones. He encouraged the various actors involved in the project to continue the work for its success. This event allowed the participants to better understand the CajùLab project and to inquire about what is planned on a large scale with drones in agriculture in Benin. Some pictures of the presentation session!
The BeniBiz project signed on June 30, 2017, financed by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Trade and Development and then by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, is implemented by the American NGO TechnoServe in collaboration with BoP Innovation Center. BeniBiz is an inclusive, global business acceleration project that will support 2,500 young entrepreneurs, 750 agri-food SME entrepreneurs and 150 entrepreneurs selling nutrition products across Benin over a five-year period. This project will help micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) led by men and women to overcome the challenges of their growth, by developing competitive enterprises mainly in the agri-food sectors; which will generate more wealth for Beninese through improved sales and the creation of new jobs. These enhanced MSMEs will also improve food security through improved consumer access to nutritional products and increased agricultural trade with local farmers.
The BeniBiz project has entered its active phase since June 2018 with the launch of Cohort 1. A few months later, Cohort 2, whose care support was completed at the end of May 2019, was launched aftercare support. In short, for these two cohorts, nearly 700 entrepreneurs followed the training-coaching sessions and benefited from the support of BeniBiz.
It is therefore opportune to award them diplomas that attest to their proven entrepreneurial skills through the various BeniBiz training, coaching and follow-up services provided to them. Thus, from 24 to 30 July 2019, BeniBiz has traveled all its localities of operations to issue these certificates with trophies to the 700 entrepreneurs already beneficiaries, through ceremonies very simple and full of joy and solemnity with the presence of these entrepreneurs accompanied by their families. The recipients, very honored and proud, expressed their positive mood and showed their enthusiasm to encourage other entrepreneurs to join the BeniBiz program. Some pictures of the highlights of these ceremonies.
After the recruitment and selection phase of the entrepreurs' applications in the months of June-July 2019 (Micros, Small and medium-sized enterprises) for the cohort 3 in all the departments of Benin with the exception of the littoral (Cotonou), BeniBiz started in August 2019 the series of training courses for 350 new entrepreneurs sorted out of more than 1000 files on the basis of the following eligibility criterias:
* To be a company everywhere in Benin except the littoral
* Have been in business for at least 6 months
* Being in any sector of economic activity except the purchase-resale
* Have a monthly turnover between 120 000F CFA and 4 200 000F CFA
As part of these training courses, four modules are planned over 4 months with the following themes:
1) Module 1: How to develop your activity? How to recognize his opportunities?
2) Module 2: How to determine your costs, calculate your profits and grow your income?
3) Module 3: How to sell more? Sales and marketing strategies
4) Module 4: Financing my growth
BeniBiz team is currently working on rolling out module 1 of these training courses in its 11 operational departments. Some pictures just below
Organized by the actors of the cashew sector in Mali in collaboration with the African Cashew Alliance (ACA), the Sahelian Cashew Forum (FOCAS), a new event concept on the cashew sector in the West African sub-region, was at its second edition from 5 to 7 August 2019 in Bamako, MALI. The purpose of this conference is to promote sharing and cooperation in improving the competitiveness of the cashew value chain in Sahelian countries.
Various actors from the public and private sectors of the cashew industry of Benin, Burkina-Faso, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea Bisseau, Ghana, Mali and Senegal, as well as Technical and Financial Partners (PTF), NGOs in the West African sub-region, including TechnoServe, which implements the BeninCajù project funded by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), participated in this edition, which discussed the theme: "Improving the competitiveness of the cashew value chain in Sahelian countries ".
A crucible of sharing between actors in the cashew sector, the 2019 edition of FOCAS was mostly furnished with discussions panels relating to key sub-themes including:
* the evolution of cashew production in the Sahel region: state of play, potential and market trends; * the importance of KOR (quality measurement of cashew nuts) for marketing;
* Economic opportunities of local processing of cashew nuts: how to make processing more competitive in the Sahel: add value to the cashew sector, following the example of Malian industry; * How to organize the private-public dialogue, create a common framework for the good governance of the sector, and set up a system of regulation of the cashew nut sector.
All these sub-topics have been developed with a compass for benchmarking the experiences of Mali, Burkina-Faso, Guinea-Bissau and Côte d'Ivoire. Derivatives exhibition and a visit to a large plantation of cashew trees were also key stages of FOCAS 2019. Indeed, this field visit allowed participants to see the exploits of Tidjiane Traoré, a former migrant who became an example of success in cashew:
* At least 8 varieties of cashew trees have been planted;
* Heavy machinery present on the domain;
* Tidjiane plantation is not a family business, but a big initiative that employs more than 100 permanent employees;
* The estate was bought with the support of the banks;
The next step considered by the promoter is the installation of a cashew processing unit.
The example of this farmer is a case study and corroborates the reliability of this sector for access to financing.
On the initiative of the Benin delegation, a side-meeting was held after the official closing of FOCAS. It brought together the Beninese delegation, that of ACA, Burkina Faso, Mali, and Guinea-Bissau for a brainstorming on the need to help countries that do not yet have an inter-profession committee to dispose of it.
At the end of BeninCajù's mission at this conference, it is expected that the knowledge base of players in the cashew sector in Benin will be strengthened with an opportunity to exchange experiences for the improvement of policies and actions development of this value chain in Benin. The appointment is made for the 2020 edition of FOCAS in Guinea-Bissau.
Graduated from Sékou Agricultural High School cycle 2, option animal production promotion 2016, Bérénice, young lady aged 25, under the coaching of her husband, converted to plant production including the production of seedlings of cashew trees grafted in the commune of Zou in Abomey (133 km from Cotonou). With the support of BeninCajù (training on production techniques, grafting, good practices - training on leadership), its production in recent years has seen a meteoric rise from 4 500 plants in 2017 to 12 000 plants in 2018 and 30 000 plants in 2019, arousing the admiration of its nursery pair.
"BeninCajù is for me, a real booster because, very quickly, I reached this level of realization. I am very proud and more motivated. Our life has totally changed and we have big ambitions for our little family. Thanks to my income from the 2018 campaign, I have acquired a bigger domain for the extension of my nursery. ", Bérénice DAKOVO.
Her dynamism allows her election as Treasurer of the Coopérative of Cashew Producers Grafted (CoPAG) ZOU-COLLINES and Secretary General of FeNaPAC_BENIN. This nursery is one of the three (3) women on the list of forty nurseries selected to benefit from the government's professionalization program. Bérénice DAKOVO demonstrates eagerness and willingness to acquire knowledge to strengthen her skills in the transplanted cashew nursery.
Follow this video to learn more about her success story and her exhortation of young women to join the highly profitable cashew production sector.