Since April, 19 mentors have been working with the trainees in the Gambian training project to develop their future business plans. This is all the more necessary as none of the trainees has start-up capital to finance their agricultural venture. Now the first plans are in place.
How can we support the trainees, who will complete their two-year training in September? Knowledge and practical experience they have, what is missing is start-up capital.
Contact has been made with an EU-funded program, but international organizations don’t give away money either; they want and need to check whether the plans are realistic and profitable. So business plans have to be written.
A hard piece of work was first the cost-benefit calculations. The compilation of all factors, infrastructure expenses, operating costs, maintenance costs alone required unusual attention. Furthermore, an income forecast had to be prepared – a difficult undertaking with such volatile markets, we could only calculate with average values.
A timetable, a milestone plan, was also drawn up to give the future company a temporal as well as operational structure. And then there was the application letter . . . that the trainees had never done before, never had to do before.
But the step into independence after the apprenticeship must be well prepared. That’s why all 34 first-year trainees have been working on their business plans since April. They are accompanied by 19 volunteer mentors, primarily employees of Lufthansa AG. And with success, because the results are remarkable.
Enriching for both sides
The program was designed to be digital, yet a good relationship quickly developed between mentor and mentee – enriching for both sides.
One mentor wrote: “The experience was very different from what I expected but seeing/hearing how appreciative my mentee was, has been amazing. Especially that he will indeed use all the input he has received over the last years from you and your team to be able to implement this into an active livelihood that he also loves. This has been the best part of it all. “if you do what you love, you will never work a day in your life” I am very happy for him. Again, thank you to you and your team and keep up the amazing work, making a huge impact to better people lives.”
Now it’s study, study, study for the final exam. And on September 4, 2021 is graduation!