As the situation currently stands only roughly 30% of the youth in Sub-Saharan Africa have been absorbed into formal employment. This has created a black hole for the remainder of the youth who have aspirations but are faced with minimal opportunities and even fewer resources. They have as a result turned to the informal sector which as I mentioned in my previous article about the unemployment plague, caters for 77% of non-agricultural employment on the sub-continent. It is this same non-agricultural employment that the Nestle Initiative – My Own Business is targeting.
In line with these statistics mentioned above, Nestlé have declared the aim of the initiative to be encouraging entrepreneurship in Central and West Africa. This will run the company’s goal of boosting the coffee brand in busy public areas such as open markets, stadiums and bus stops. They will attain it by firstly giving local entrepreneurs the tools to run their own businesses -in addition to training on sales, management, hygiene standards, safety requirements and quality levels. Each operator recruited to the programme will be required to employ at least 8 street sellers from within the area. Above and beyond all of this the programme will help operators find safe and clean kitchen areas to run their businesses from. In relation to the company’s goal, each vendor will be equipped with a Nescafe vendor kit which includes a coffee dispenser they can easily strap on their backs while they go about their business. Moreover, all vendors also receive Nescafe products such as Classic, the 3-in-1 sachet, hot water flasks, disposable cups and branded items of clothing.
The whole concept of “quid pro quo” is something that Africa has shunned, and labelled as extortion by the West, because more often than not they (the Africans) are the ones that lose out. However this is not the case and all budding entrepreneurs in Central and West Africa should flock to join this programme. Firstly it is providing employment for families across the region which will have the ripple effect of boosting the economy, improving healthcare etc. Secondly it is a starting point for something so much bigger – programme participants would be wise to implement the skills they learn during training to more innovative businesses they create down the line.