Strengthening Competitive Businesses in Benin

Launched in late 2014, TechnoServe is implementing a business plan competition program, with funding from the World Bank and working in conjunction with the Government of Benin, to create jobs by strengthening formal small and medium enterprises, with a focus on the high-potential industries of transportation, construction and agribusiness. TechnoServe is working with 500 entrepreneurs selected through a competitive application process to develop bankable business plans and build their capacities in key areas of business management. These 500 participants (including startups and existing businesses) have been trained on basic principles of entrepreneurship. To date, 228 finalists were selected through a juried competition, out of which 137 winners were identified to refine and implement their business plans. The winning entrepreneurs are receiving more intensive, customized assistance, including grant financing, one-on-one coaching, and sector-specific trainings from local experts. TechnoServe completed a gender analysis to help the team target and promote women entrepreneurs, as well as sector analyses to determine which sectors have the highest sustainable growth potential and can generate the highest volume of potential jobs. By project end, TechnoServe anticipates that participating enterprises will receive a cumulative 1.2 billion FCFA (over $2 million) in financing, and create more than 2,000 jobs.