We've just wrapped up the 2017 Oportunities for Youth Employment (OYE) Boot Camp. After three days of intensive workshops and a wealth of knowledge and experience gained, 30 ambitious participants anxiously waited to hear the names of the 2017 winners. The competition was fierce and in the end, female entrepreneurs dominated the field and took home most prizes.
The 2017 OYE Boot Camp was the first edition that included participants from both the MasterCard Foundation and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC)-funded OYE projects. A selection of 30 young people was made, representing 100 high-performing businesses. The businesses were established by OYE participants in 2015 and 2016, and are active in sectors like agriculture, energy and WASH.
2017 Boot Camp first prize winners
Boot Camp participants enjoyed two days of training and learning and were taken on study tours to an organic fertiliser company as well as an organic coal manufacturer. On the third day, each young entrepreneur had a few minutes to pitch their business plan to a panel of judges who would afterwards ask a series of questions.
"I was very nervous" says Elizabeth, group leader of Haki Leather Group from Dodoma. "But I remembered that I have my other fellow group mates back home and I didn’t want to return empty handed." And she did not, Elizabeth was one of the competition’s first place winners taking home a start-up kit that would boost their business, worth Tsh 1 million (€380).
Her fellow first place winners were Gift Mbaraka and Christina Herman. Gift represented a four-member youth enterprise that sells products ranging from briquettes and improved cookstoves to liquid soap and honey in the Tanzania Coast Region. Christina Herman was picked as the winner for the SDC funded OYE project. She is self-employed as a sales agent, selling products for Mobisol in the Shinyanga Region. Second place winners took home start-up kits worth Tsh 900 000 (€340) and the third place start-up kit was worth Tsh 800 000 (€300).
“We had a difficult time picking the top three this year" Awadh Milasi, competition judge and OYE agriculture project manager said "We are looking forward to working with the contestants as peer leaders for their fellow OYE graduates.”
2017 Boot Camp participants
And while the lessons have been learned and the prizes distributed, most participants report taking home two other things from the camp. “What I’ll remember most from this experience is learning to present myself and my business with confidence", says Emmanuel a solar technician and agent from Mwanza Region “The second best thing about this challenge is the number of contacts I gained in other regions, "I think we will all be communicating to see how we can work together."
SNV congratulates all the Boot Camp contestants and winners, including the people in their enterprise groups, as well as our partners and staff for a job well done.