Strengthening Competitive Businesses in Benin

Launched in late 2014, TechnoServe implemented a business plan competition program with funding from the World Bank and working in conjunction with the Government of Benin. This partnership aimed to create jobs by strengthening formal small and medium enterprises, with a focus on high-potential industries such as transportation, construction, and agribusiness. TechnoServe worked with 500 entrepreneurs selected through a competitive application process to develop bankable business plans and build their capacities in key areas of business management and other entrepreneurship principles. By project completion in 2016, 228 finalists were selected through a juried competition, and 137 winners were identified to refine and implement their business plans. Winning entrepreneurs received more intensive, customized assistance, including grant financing, one-on-one coaching, and training specific to their particular sectors from local experts. TechnoServe completed a gender analysis to help the team identify and support women entrepreneurs, and also performed sector analyses to determine which sectors presented the highest sustainable growth potential and could generate the highest volume of potential jobs. By project end, participating enterprises received more than a cumulative $4.8 million in financing, and created more than 2,000 jobs for the local economy.