Ipyet/Support Services

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Welcome to Module 5. Alas, the fifth of five modules on the IPYET 2011 Online programme! If you have made it this far, a pat on your shoulders and our appreciation for joining us on this journey of sharing! The first module set the tone for the discussions we have had so far and will explore for the remainder of the online session and the residential programme. Module 2 took us further up the ladder on entrepreneurship training by exploring some of the critical elements during an example workshop. It explored some fundamental challenges trainers face in such workshops –teaching costing and finance. After all the basics of what a business is, why start your own business, types of enterprises, etc., while a bedrock of a solid entrepreneurship training, will become worthless if the training programme did not include such strong elements of financial management. Module 3 then took us into the world of perceptions! While some may argue that business/enterprises and its management are purely scientific being for which people can be though, social and physiological elements such as the orientation, acculturation, and perceptions of people can affect these to a large extent. Module 3 therefore discussed the perceptions of people on gender, child labour and disability, and how these affect training and the running of the businesses itself. At this stage, our virtual business was formed. Module 4 took us towards an exploration of the various mechanisms to sustaining it. We discussed the various elements that can bring down a business. In particular, we discussed the effects of HIV/AIDS on businesses especially youth enterprises. We then considered the effects of various ICT tools and platforms to our businesses and introduced the concept of sustainable ICTs (SICTs).

In module five, we crown our discussions with the all-important – Support Services. A further off-shoot from our discussions on sustaining youth enterprises, the topic explores one critical aspect of sustainability – Business Development Services (BDS) in sub-module 5.1. We then discuss issues surrounding monitoring and evaluation of training programmes in sub-module 5.2.

Development, a misused word?

Everything you hear nowadays may most probably have the work development in it. Especially if the discussion or statement is about social issues, then the word development might be inevitable indeed. But is this word misused too often? In identifying and providing various services to help grow and sustain youth enterprises, do we wrongly use the word development to describe our interventions? Should we say Business Support Services (BSS) instead of Business Development Services (BDS)? Other key questions that come to mind include what are NOT BDS, and who is qualified to provide these?

The IPYET programme is not designed to provide a comprehensive training in this area. However, discussions towards raising several more questions and attempting to answer a few of them, it is believe, will go a long way in encouraging more thought about the subject matter while planning for youth entrepreneurship training and youth entrepreneurship development interventions. The discussions on BDS will continue way after the online programme and will be capped during the residential programme in Siavonga Zambia.

Can you evaluate what you have NOT planned?

It is estimated that as much as 80% of all small and micro businesses fail within the first two years of start-up! Yes indeed, this was the premise for our discussions under module 4. Have we gone far enough to identify what elements will turn this ratio upside down? But how will we know which businesses failed and which succeeded? How will we know why some failed and some didn’t? Can we achieve a 100% business success rate? What will be an “ideal” rate of success? But what is a successful business and how will we know that they have been successful? Can a business be successful when the foundations laid for it – skills development, education and training, financing, BDS, etc, are unsuccessful?

These and more questions come up for discussions during module 5.2. Monitoring and Evaluation of all trainings and of all entrepreneurship development programmes are quintessential to the success of the programme. This, sadly, has not been a priority for many. Many don’t plan the training programme well and far more don’t plan to evaluate it either.

The discussions on this will be the capstone to our online training programme for IPYET 2011.

Key Questions

By the time you finish the online discussions on this module, you should have explored several questions including:

  1. What are Business Development Services (BDS)?
  2. What are NOT Business Development Services (BDS)?
  3. What are the types of BDS commonly available to Youth Entrepreneurs?
  4. What are the unique attributes of BDS for youth enterprises?
  5. Does BDS include financial services like providing loans?
  6. What are the key assumptions in the provision of BDS?
  7. Who are the actors in the provision of a BDS?
  8. How do we ensure that BDS are sustainable?
  9. How do we measure the success or otherwise of BDS?
  10. What is monitoring?
  11. What is evaluation?
  12. What tools are used in M&E?
  13. What Indicators and needed in M&E?
  14. For what uses are M&E information?

How this module is organised

There are two sub-modules. Each sub-module can be organised as a stand-alone course. Module 5.1: Providing Business Development Services (BDS) Module 5.2: Monitoring and Evaluation of Training Programmes

Your moderator for this discussion, Jealous Chirove is a seasoned master trainer with expertise in various training tools. He will ensure that you have an experience that will leave you wanting for more during the residential programme.