“Sometimes I would get lucky in life. I completed secondary school. I got married. I had a motorbike but I didn’t know how to use those resources properly to make money – I didn’t have business skills. I had previously worked for an NGO, but when they left town, I lost the job and I never managed to recover,” explained James Ngor Ngor, 30.
James is a recent graduate of the Entrepreneurship Training Workshop held from 21-26 May 2018 in Aweil, hosted by UNDP and facilitated by master trainers from EMPRETEC Mauritius. The training was funded by the Government of Japan and is part of UNDP’s efforts to restore livelihood and productive capacities as part of an integrated recovery and resilience response.
“Before this training, I really did not approach my business with a plan. In this past week, I’ve learned how successful entrepreneurs act and how to apply those lessons. I now see opportunity all over instead of obstacles. I know the concept of initiative seeking, and how to approach someone with resources with a plan for how I will make a profit,” said James, who made major revisions to his boda-boda [motorcycle taxi] business during the course of the six-day workshop and saw a 400% increase in his daily revenue.
He attributes this change in orienting his activities with a mind for customer service, setting affordable but competitive prices, and improving his negotiation skills and responsiveness.
“I am now saving money every day and I have a plan for the future. In the coming year, my goal is to invest in three additional motorbikes as well as build a shop,” he said proudly.
The UNCTAD-certified Entrepreneurship Training Workshop focuses specifically on changing mindsets. It spends a significant portion of the first days challenging participants to examine themselves through an exercise called “Who Am I?”, and then visualize their lives five, 10, and 20 years from now. These efforts seek to join the psycho-social aspects of building successful entrepreneurs and business habits through self-worth, self-esteem, and control.
For James, the confidence-building aspect of the training was a major factor in his success.
“This training taught me if you are a committed and persistent person, if you plan and break your plan into manageable chunks, you can achieve your goal,” said James.
“I went out immediately and applied what they were telling me in the workshop. I saw the proof of what I can do in these few days. I came back on the last day of the training and stood up to give encouraging remarks. I wanted my fellow trainees to know they can do it too,” he continued.
In between boosting his business, James sat down with his wife during the six days and together they discussed their family’s financial well-being. He shared the materials and lessons from the training with her. They touched on “errors and weaknesses” they were making, and what to change.
“My wife is happy. With my profits from the first day, I was able to give her 1000 SSP. She’s now started a small business operation of her own, to help transport charcoal to and from the market with a donkey,” said James.
The structure of the EMPRETEC model also aims to cultivate local advocates who can use their new skills to support and grow a network of 75 additional entrepreneurial activities in and around Aweil.
“This training was like medicine taken by someone to live properly. I feel like I had blindness sickness and now I can see. I just want to pass it on. I will start from my house and hopefully keep spreading this knowledge,” James said.