SITUATION BEFORE THE INITIATIVE BEGAN
The economic crisis that is very rampant in the sub Sahara African nations, gives a chance to the importance of self-owned businesses and the role it can play in the development of such nations.
The majority of the Colleges and Universities in these nations teach theories about how to manage businesses but fail to produce entrepreneurial skills. Today, majority of our P.H.D and Masters Degree Holders only believe in their competence to manage businesses but fail to apply for vacant posts because of their lack of practical training. Most of these people are more in francophone nations than the Anglophone. IIFEG-Ecole des Patrons was initiated in Togo to find solution to these problems in Francophone Africa.
ESTABLISHMENT OF PRIORITIES
Considering the unlimited number of unemployment, the poor conditions of living, and managers without formal training; a group of Togolese directed by the former Ambassador of Togo to Canada created an NGO known as AVOBETO (Association des Volontaires et Bénévoles du Togo).
The main objective of the NGO was to promote and get volunteers willing to train the youth to improve their lives through programs specially organized for the same.
AVOBETO gathered men and women willing to share knowledge and experience with others to help achieve their objectives in life. The Association has a philosophy of solidarity and caters for everyone regardless of his or her age, color, sex, religion or nationality.
One of its objectives is to be of help (physical or moral) to jobless people, young persons, etc.
The activities of AVOBETO include administrative assistance, socio-cultural programs and directing people to get relevant information on matters that concern them. The Association organizes conferences to inform and convince people on the subject of creating a self-owned business.
Since it inception, the Association undertook various responsibilities in Education, project realization of micro-project, and socio-economic development of Togo. The Association always joins other NGOs to undertake projects that have to do with the socio-economic development of nations.
Despite its status as an NGO, the Association is officially known and approved by the government for operations. AVOBETO is an organization that intervenes and fights against poverty. The Association has the following organs:
FORMULATION OF OBJECTIVES AND STRATERGIES
Its actions focus on the fight against poverty and creating money-generating businesses for the prosperity of all. This is explained by the training and creation of jobs, financing of firms etc. The Association gives priority to training, documentation, agriculture, and raring of animals.
Leads its candidates (students, delegates) to create firms and money generating businesses.
Enlightening the spirit of the learners in order for them to be exposed to the world of self owned business.
Make teaching aids and computer available to the school.
Establishing a relationship between IIFEG and other Institutes in Africa or else where. Developing in Togo the concept of business ownership and at the same time mining of BTS programs. Spreading IIFEG’s program in the entire francophone nation in Africa. To promote inter cultural exchanges program between IIFEG students and other students abroad and between Businessmen in Togo and that of other nation.
Providing learners with information and technical advises in creating their own business.
Teaching learners how to transform crisis to opportunities.
Reinforcing the experiences and knowledge of learners by either providing them with the necessary tools for the success of the businesses.
Encouraging the exchanges of ideas, training programs, on the regional, national and even International scales.
Encouraging participant to be business-minded and brainstorm on various business ideas.
Encouraging project initiations and helping students to find the relevant addresses of organizations ready to finance their projects.
Encouraging participants to own a business before the end of their training.
Plans and advocacies to find solution to lack of employment today are the product of the hard work that the President of AVOBETO has undertaken so many years back. He is also the founding Director of IIFEG-Ecole des Patrons.
Strategies by International organizations including the World Bank put down to reduce poverty are not different from what the Association has in Togo.
In order to reduce poverty in Africa, the World Bank invested a huge sum of money for researches that will bring solutions. Out of solutions that were suggested to the Government of the Nation by the World Bank two are more important for our program:
The changing of mentalities,
Training for establishing self owned business.
AVOBETO has been operational in 5 regions of Togo.
Maritime Region: Headquarters Tsévié,
Plateaux Region: Headquarters Atakpamé,
Central Region: Headquarters Sokodé,
Kozah Region: Headquarters Kara,
Savane Region: Headquarters Dapaong.
National Headquarters a Lomé.
We are operational in all the regions and Lomé not only by providing training but also through distribution of pharmaceuticals products.
MOBILISATION OF RESOURCES
Money is raised from the following sources:
Free will donations from members,
Subscriptions from members.
Apart from the Togo Chamber of Commerce that sometimes provides some technical supports during our seminars, the Association has no financial partner. MORIJA from France gave some medical support to all our regions.
IIFEG-Ecole des Patrons has been established to take over the responsibilities of AVOBETO.
In every academic year, IIFEG recruits students on two bases:
Scholarship basis: after passing an Institutional exam
Free admission after passing the following subjects: Mathematics, French, English, General cultural and a test on psychotechnics.
- The registration form is 65.000 F CFA
- The school fees is 450.000 F CFA
A-Levels holders spend two years in our Institute while University degrees holders spend just one year.
IIFEG takes education seriously especially promoting women and child education without discrimination. Women can also create and manage their own businesses sometime even better than men. Between 1999 to 2003 Academic year in our Institution, we had 50 men and 18 women as candidates.
The following estimations were the number of students the Institute trained for the pass 6 years since 1998.
1998 – 2000: 50 students (1st promotion)
1999 – 2001: 100 students (2nd promotion)
2000 – 2002: 200 students (3rd promotion)
2001 – 2003: 300 students (4th promotion)
- Teaching body
The teaching body is made up of 25 professors who undertake both the theory and the practical teaching. 45 % of the professors are also Directors of high caliber companies.
In order to have your business succeed and have maximum profit, it is indispensable for young trainees to receive some training pertaining to that field regardless of all his/her academic certificate or degree, this is our philosophy at IIFEG: “ There is no development without training ”. IIFEG-Ecole des Patrons inherited the acquisitions of AVOBETO.
AVOBETO has taken the responsibilities to invest in conferences, seminars to sensitize, inform and train the population specially the youth. All programs being held by AVOBETO covers a duration of 4 to 6 weeks. During these weeks of training about 10 subjects are thought, these include accounting organization of firms, Marketing, Business management and exams are organized. This enables us to discover the talented students and train them accordingly. If this test is well perceived by the students, the Institute finds it very easy to train other students. The students will begin to undertake projects by the 3rd week of training. The students identify money generating activities and businesses; these in turn become their initial businesses at the end of the training course.
The young managers while in school can partner with a financial firm to raise money for their project. Sometime, it is possible to begin a project with very small money or even without. We promote “learning by doing”.
It is also our responsibility to discus the experiences of our students and guide them if necessary. These are a few examples of programs held by our students.
Introduction on work, employment and ideas of firm business owner.
Exchanges of business experiences.
First test “ Are you ready to became a business owner? ”
Practical exercise on business questions.
Practical applications of the principles and the bases of prosperity in the world.
Professional orientation based on the 115 ideas on lucrative business
Different categories of the business and their legal formalities for creation
Family budgets and the necessity to joining a serving and loan company.
Some knowledge about saving and Loans Company.
The sources of finance of an Enterprise.
Our teaching method relies a lot on the practical learning. In order to help the business of our student be well rooted, we give a lot of considerations on personal experiences and discuss it to find relevant solutions if possible.
For us to find solution the following techniques are used.
Debate of expositions,
Discussions in group,
Projection of film on video,
Comment, Criticisms and recommendations,
Visiting business centers.
At the end of our training seminars, the best projects that are profitable and create jobs for others are financially supported by FADE (Fond d’Appui au Development des Enterprises). On the 16th January 2004, (FIJ) Fond d’Insertion des Jeunes distributed 35,000,000 F CFA.
Today, the success of our students is very encouraging and demand for the training is increasing. Having no financial partner or sponsors, we risk to not being able to satisfy the great number of people willing to get trained in our Institution.
For a training seminar to be highly successful, the Institute needs not less than 16,865,000 F CFA. A normal admission of 200 delegates gives us 1,000, 000 F CFA, if it is organized in collaboration with the Ministry of Youth and Sports, and that of Work and Employment. The unemployed Degree holders are the very people who need our training, having no jobs; they can never be able to assume the financial responsibility of this training. It is because of that the need for sponsorship from any financing organization etc. is paramount to us.
From 1998 to 2003 out of the 650 trainees, in our Institute, 300 created their own business. They collaborated with other institutions and are employing a great number of youth. In 2003, 1000 employments were created. Through our unique training program in West Africa, many students, and delegates have been able to improve their lives.
The progress and development of any nation is determined by the dynamism of the private sector.
For about 15 years, we have been engaged in convincing and training people to become their own boss. This program, “AVEBETO” which was begun as an NGO has been integrated with the IIFEG-Ecole des Patrons from 1998.
Today, 70% of our 10,000 trainees created, and manage their own business and employ more people for the development of the nation.
Our problems in the job market are as a result of lack of Entrepreneurship. In order for us to do away with this situation in any nations, attention has to be paid on Institutes that undertake such training. The establishment of micro-enterprises was considered as fundamental element that can help solve these problems.
The youth have to be acquainted with Business ideas. Not all business ideas can be undertaken and be profitable to all. Our Institute also has the mandate to offer areas of studies to the students according to their talents.
We also put together a book on micro-enterprises entitled “ 115 Idées d’Affaires Lucratives pour augmenter ses revenus ou créer sa propre entreprise ”. The book has three major parts:
Part I: A general presentation of the book and concepts.
Part II: A psychotechnic test to detect various talents, and the experiences of the future business owners.
Part III: 115 business ideas that are profitable and economical. These ideas are classified alphabetically.
The book also talks about how positive and profitable technology is as long as modernization is concerned. In order to promote Entrepreneurship in Africa specially countries where French is spoken, we have compiled a magazine, which comes out every 2 months. It title is “Entrepreneur African ” it has the following objectives:
To promote and develop the spirit of Entrepreneurship to University and Colleges students.
To publish the results of the researches undertaken in Entrepreneurship.
To publish and publicize initiatives that happened in schools, Institutes, Universities, and Colleges and in some profit making organizations.
To make youth, students, sensitive on the subject of initiating a self-owned business to become their own bosses.
The magazine also publishes the testimonies of people who got it successful through AVOBETO and IIFEG.
The main lesson leant here is that IIFEG through its program is creating solutions to the prevailing unemployment problems. The program of Entrepreneurship is specifically out to teach students how to explore their talent to make money for themselves. It also teaches students that it is not necessarily with money that business is created, the most important things is to have the idea
If it is true that enterprises can be created with small or no money, it is necessary to locate financing sources to develop the enterprise. It is on that note that IIFEG has as one of its subjects on “The sources of financing of enterprises and the services banks can render to their faithful customers”.
The business world is at the same time very complex. We train people a lot on the changing mentalities of the society. The program held in IIFEG has a very large undertaking touching the physical, material, moral and spiritual aspects of man. We also undertake another aspect that is very important in the process of strengthening values of students.
Communities are made up of the most vulnerable social stratums such us: farmers, women, unemployed youth idles people etc. If they organize themselves well, they can easily get financial aid. To be successful, it is advised that we should be more informed about our project. Success belongs to a man that is hard working, courageous, patient, observer, intelligent, knows how to take decisions.
Today there are many schools, Institutions, which have also begun the same teaching program IIFEG has undertaken some years ago. Having known the socio economic problems of our country, we thought it was wise to leave the BTS (Brevet de Technicien Supérieur) for the time being and come back to our core business, which includes training and creating enterprises through conferences, seminars, and colloquiums etc.
We always look for ways to convey our achievements. On the 26th to 29 November 2003, The Founding Director of IIFEG and AVOBETO had the privilege to represent Togo at the francophone Ministers of Youth and Sport Conference organized at Kigali (RWANDA) where he presented the theme: “ L’emploi des jeunes par la création de micro-entreprises génératrices de revenus ” with a sub-theme of “ Sur les créneaux porteurs pour les 10 procaines années ”.
Thus IIFEG-Ecole des Patrons is for Togo and other francophone nations in Africa where people undergo the same kind of problems
Our wish is to share this wonderful vision with others to eliminate poverty, destitution, and unemployment.