Two weeks in Ghana, and we have completed our first workshop! I am so proud of the work my fellow YCI volunteer Kayla and myself have put in, and the freedom that YCI granted for us to run the workshops to make it as relevant and applicable to the participants.
After interviewing the entrepreneurs at the market, we discovered that there was no single day that everyone can attend. The alternative is to host workshops on 2 separate days, and repeat the content. Kayla and myself felt that we were up for the challenge, so Thursdays and Sundays became our official work days. Our workshops were structured so that after five weeks, participants could feel more confident in their business knowledge and have practical tools to apply immediately to their business. Our “curriculum” is as follows:
- Week 1: Introduction to Entrepreneurship in Ghana
- Week 2: Business Concepts Primer Workshop (Topics covered: Finance, Marketing/Communication, Strategy)
- Week 3: Business Plan Workshop
- Week 4: One-on-One Mentorship and Preparation for Micro-Enterprise Conference
- Week 5: Micro-Enterprise Conference
By structuring it as an on-going commitment of classes, we hope to incentivize participants to regularly attend the workshops. Since the workshops are being hosted on 2 days, we hoped to get as much turn-out as possible. So far, the flexibility that YCI and YMCA Ghana have granted us has helped in making logistics-related decisions with a focus of regular attendance, and a steady/constant turn-out.
After researching entrepreneurship in Ghana, we realized that it was not possible to cover all aspects of business concepts, and we decided to focus on 3 core concepts: finance, marketing/communication and strategy. We chose these 3 business concepts because they are also the most applicable to the business environment that these entrepreneurs face.
- Be and Stay Flexible: Understand that participants may have to travel very far to get to the workshop location, or take 3 – 4 different modes of transportation.
- Adapt: If you have an idea that is not working, don’t stick with it – alter it, change it, and make it work with the situation.
- Focus on the Bigger Picture: Don’t be discouraged when workshops don’t go as planned – chances are, something equally good (or better) will come out of it.
- Make Every Experience, a Learning/Growth Opportunity: When you face an obstacle in preparing or hosting a workshop, use the experience to enhance your volunteer experience – you will not regret it!
Overall, the entrepreneurial workshops were a great start to our curriculum, and a perfect way to introduce us, YCI, and YMCA!
– Stephanie Liauw, Youth Leadership Team, Ghana 2013