AMIDEAST encourages aspiring young business owners in Mukalla [Archives:2008/1178/Local News]

August 4 2008

Khalid Al-Hilaly
MUKALLA, Aug. 1 – A training workshop on opening small enterprises was held July 19-31 in Mukalla for numerous businesses owners and concerned youths.

The Unites States' Middle East Partnership Initiative and America-Mideast Educational and Training Services, or AMIDEAST, in cooperation with the Youth Association for Development and Creativity and Hadramout University of Science and Technology sponsored the workshop.

Participants were from Hadramout University, the Youth Association for Development and Creativity, the Small and Microenterprise Promotion Service, or SMEPS, and Tadhamon Islamic Bank's Small & Microenterprise Financing Unit.

The workshop was divided into three parts, with Abdulhakim Ba-Raedah from the Ministry of Industry lecturing on the basics of small enterprise management. He provided the definition of small enterprises and their characteristics in Hadramout governorate, legal and planning perspectives and the essential needs for running such businesses. He also mentioned the obstacles small enterprises face, as well as the qualities of successful investors.

According to Ahmed Ba-Amer of SMEPS, attendance was good, particularly by women. Some presented their experiences in establishing small enterprises, explaining how they received financing. “In addition to information about marketing and administration matters, the practical training was very useful for us,” he noted.

German Technical Cooperation (GTZ) representative Hanan Ba-Humaid talked about the obstacles women face in establishing small enterprises, while Mohammed Al-Aweni from SMEPS presented the various training and consultative services his firm provides for small enterprises.

Additionally, numerous Tadhamon Islamic Bank customers also discussed the services of the bank's Small & Microenterprise Financing Unit.

Fatima Omar, a student at Hadramout University's Faculty of Administration Sciences, expressed her admiration for the workshop's content, retelling a story told at the workshop of a young woman who now owns and operates a small business after receiving a loan from Tadhamon Islamic Bank to establish an internet cafe in her home. Her venture has succeeded and she now has repaid the bank loan.

“University graduates who can't find jobs should take the opportunity to start small enterprises instead of waiting for employment,” Omar says, adding, “Personally, the idea is on my mind because my friends and I could do it.”

The workshop concluded with administrative and accounting training sessions financed by the United Nations Development Program and conducted by the Youth Association for Development and Creativity.

Mohammed Maflahi, AMIDEAST's project manager in Mukalla, described the workshop and its participation as both positive and effective. “It was a good opportunity for small business owners and youths to meet representatives from SMEPS, GTZ and Tadhamon Islamic Bank, since all are concerned about such projects,” he concluded.