How to improve support to social and environmental enterprises in Mozambique?
Since the end of the civil war in 1992 Mozambique has experienced impressive growth rates of 6-8 per cent; embodying the new optimism regarding Africa’s economic outlook. Yet the high growth rates, mainly driven by foreign-financed large projects in the natural resource sector, have failed to create sufficient employment opportunities and poverty reduction has stagnated in the last decade. Growth is expected to continue based on new discoveries of coal and natural gas reserves, but the country faces the challenge to turn growth inclusive and green.
Promoting inclusive growth has already been the overarching objective of Mozambique’s Third Poverty Reduction Strategy 2011-2014, but more specific policies and concrete actions need to follow. The private sector will be the main source of employment in the future and social and environmental entrepreneurship in particular offer opportunities to combine economic success with positive social and environmental impacts. Improving the business environment through policy reform and business training have been recognized as a key pillar of inclusive growth: SEED makes its contribution through capacity building for Business Development Service (BDS) providers, which are encouraged to use their new knowledge with social and environmental enterprises throughout the country.
The multiplier effect of the Training of Trainers (ToT) in Mozambique
After successful interventions in Malawi and Namibia, Mozambique was the third country in which SEED conducted a Training of Trainers (ToT) session to familiarise local business development service providers with the triple bottom line (TBL) and partnership management methodology. Almost 20 participants from various backgrounds - from traditional business consultancies, environmental consultancies and renowned international business consultancies - participated in the training that took place in Maputo, Mozambique from 3-6 November 2014. The training week was co-organized by SNV Mozambique and co-facilitated by the partnering initiative (TPI).
It was great to see that during four intensive days the participants all had quite a learning experience as they worked themselves through the four cases. Those cases are all inspired by real-life enterprises from the agriculture, energy, waste and natural resource conservation sectors, putting the consulting scenarios as close to reality as possible. During the sessions, the participants could make use of detailed guidance materials that were developed by SEED and had been translated into Portuguese for this training. For many the strong focus on the participatory, hands-on approach of the SEED tools was new, but it was welcomed as a valuable addition to existing business consulting in Mozambique.
Given the simplicity and step-by-step explanations of the materials, the participants were excited to make use of their new knowledge with their clients. Peer-learning completed the training experience and new partnerships emerged. The network will be strengthened during a reunion in one year, planned to share experiences with using the approach and materials provided by SEED with enterprises. In addition, two of the three participants that flew in from Zambia are planning to hold ToTs in their country. South African participants also expressed interest in a ToT at home; SEED has already scheduled two ToT in South Africa during the first half of 2015.
The launch of LINK: Mozambique's Inclusive Business and Partnerships Facility
The last day of the ToT saw another highlight. Around 80 representatives from the donor community, non-governmental organisations, government and the private sector convened for a symposium on "Building an ecosystem for green & inclusive business models in Mozambique". Among the participants were also two SEED Award Winners from Mozambique. SNV’s Rik Overmars delivered a keynote speech that was followed by a panel discussion with Todd Kirkbride (TPI), Taco de Nies (BoPInc), Paulo Negrao (GAPI), SI Pedro Tomo (Agro Servicos), Gareth Weir (DFID) and Rainer Agster (SEED).
The purpose of the event was the launch of LINK, the newest part of the Inclusive Business Accelerator project. A partnership between BoPInc, SNV and VC4Africa, the Inclusive Business Accelerator aims to promote entrepreneurship that engages the base of the pyramid through a global network, an open innovation platform, a window for impact investors, and local platforms of advisory services. LINK will serve as the local platform in Mozambique improving the national ecosystem through creating partnerships and supporting inclusive business models.
The training and the symposium underlined the high importance of an enabling environment for sustainable and inclusive business in Mozambique and the fact that organisations like SNV, the partnering initiative and SEED play a key role in this regard. Furthermore, all participants agreed that focussing just on Mozambique’s capital won’t be sufficient to promote social and environmental entrepreneurship throughout the whole country. Several participants, therefore, indicated that they will use their new knowledge in the North and other parts of the country. The ToT served as a quick start: it raised awareness on sustainable enterprises and started a network on which LINK can build to achieve its objectives.
The SEED ToT in Mozambique provided a learning experience not only to the participants, but it will also help further improve and enhance the approach. The next training is planned for South Africa, where two sessions are envisaged in Johannesburg / Pretoria and Cape Town in April / May 2015. Watch the Business Development Services Support section on our website and follow us on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn to ensure you don’t miss the call for nominations to participate the training and any new information on upcoming training in other countries.
Read more about the “Successful training week and LINK launch in Mozambique”.
This article is part of a series about SEED Training of Trainer (ToT) sessions on social and environmental entrepreneurship in selected African countries. Read here more about the last two ToT that took place in Malawi (Creating an enabling environment for social and environmental entrepreneurship in Malawi) and Namibia (Boosting support for social and environmental entrepreneurship in Namibia).