Leaving No Stone Unturned

Speeches Shim

Friday, August 17, 2018
Belayneh Blaze, 25, youth entrepreneur.
Kalkidan Yishak

Youth Economic Strengthening Center Helps Youth Launch Successful Enterprise

In Ethiopia, USAID’s Building the Potential of Youth (Potential) activity is helping the Ministry of Youth convert 28 of the country’s nearly 2,000 youth centers into Youth Economic Strengthening (YES) centers, model employment and entrepreneurship centers.

Every day, hundreds of youth come to these centers to access for the first time in their lives transferable life skills and entrepreneurship training, group and individual coaching, career guidance, job placement services, and market data. ICT is integrated in the centers with employment information system to provide an accessible career advice, business planning and guidance support for  young people to embarking on their career path. Many return regularly to access these services. Through this comprehensive suite of assistance, youth gain the skills necessary to develop business plans based on their skills and community needs.

One such youth, Belayneh, 25, took advantage of all the services his local YES center in the Amhara region had to offer. Belayneh had graduated with a degree in computer sciences but could not find work in his field. After he and his friends came to the center and took entrepreneurship training, they hatched an idea to turn their town’s overabundance of stones into an advantage by crushing those stones to make gravel. 

With help from Potential’s post-training services, they prepared a business plan and obtained a loan through a local microfinance institution and took technical skills training at a local TVET college. Through the holistic package of assistance offered through the YES safe space model, Belayneh and his friends started a viable business.

The stones are collected by young people, brought to Belayneh’s stone crushing center. There, youth are employed to operate the stone crushing machinery. The stones are broken down to make gravel which is then sold for paving for both private and business properties. This fledgling enterprise now provides more than 40 employment opportunities for youth in their community.