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CORY workshop: Fostering Rural Youth Entrepreneurship

CORY Workshop 2014From 21st to 22nd July 2014, the Cameroon National Inception Workshop CORY (Creating Opportunities for Rural Youth) project was held in Yaoundé, Cameroon.

YPARD Cameroon was invited to provide inputs to the design of the project in the country as well as to be a potential national implementing partner. On behalf of the coordination team, the Centre region representative, Gwladys Mabah, took part in the workshop.

What is CORY?

The Creating Opportunities for Rural Youth project (CORY) is a new initiative that aims to help young professionals living in rural areas to become good agro-entrepreneurs in West and Central Africa including Gambia, Benin, Nigeria and Cameroon.

From 2014 to 2017, the project objectives are to: train 2,400 mentors and 43,200 rural youth (15-35 years old) in agricultural entrepreneurship and non agricultural fields; generate 480 businesses in rural areas owned and managed by young people; build a "Young Entrepreneurs Without Borders" (YEWB) network; and launch the CORY website.

3 Ways to empower the rural youth

Knowledge management & business development services´ survey

The first component is to identify the gaps and learn from failures and successes of past and current business development services in order to avoid replication, but rather fit in missing areas and thereby adding value.

Rural entrepreneurial training, mentorship and business development services

The second component is to foster experimental training by bringing in the REVCEL (Rural Entrepreneurial Venture Creation and Experience Learning) training for non agricultural business, as well as the SELF (Songhai Entrepreneur and Leadership Fellowship) training for agricultural business. Besides, it would be good to introduce mentors to follow-up and coach young entrepreneurs.

Financing by micro-credit lending

The third component consists of not giving loans to young people for their businesses but rather to mitigate the risks of non repayment by training and coaching them. The best way would be to negotiate a low interest rate with financial institutions and take 20% of the risk on the loans obtained by the youth. 

Entrepreneur Ecosystem Snapshot and Rural Youth Surveys

The project coordinator, who highlighted particularly what was expected from the participants, presented the survey forms. For the CORY entrepreneur ecosystem snapshot survey, we were assigned to evaluate the current state of the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Cameroon and to suggest priority actions. Moreover, we had to identify and name organizations, programs and projects involved in business development services for young people in Cameroon.

Regarding the CORY rural youth survey, we had to evaluate the knowledge, skills and features of the rural youth as well as to suggest the selection criteria of young people for the CORY project.

Partnership with CORY

There are 3 types of partnering with CORY: being a mentor (an individual who offers expertise in one or many services provided by CORY), a service provider (an organization /enterprise that offers services for CORY activities), or a national implementation partner (a member of the CORY implementation team that can provide expertise in one or many components of the project).

YPARDians in action!

As YPARD representatives, we moderated and reported what was done in one of the discussion groups on CORY Entrepreneur Ecosystem Snapshot and Rural Youth Surveys. Likewise, during a discussion on the level of education (secondary or equivalent) as selection criteria of rural youth for the CORY project, we suggested that YPARD as a platform of young professionals must be involved in the selection process of the beneficiaries.

We also nominated YPARD Cameroon as a national implementing partner. YPARD Cameroon could be a partner for the implementation of the CORY component 1 and 2 (Knowledge management and survey of business development services, Rural entrepreneurial training, mentorship and business development services) in Cameroon Centre and North West regions. The implication of YPARD in these two components could be the occasion to ensure Youth voice is really taken into consideration during the project implementation.