Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development

Saturday, August 7, 2010

The role of incubators from an SME’s perspective

25th of july 2010. Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. FARA GA 2010. Interview with William Ilboudo, engineer, "Innovation en solaire et metallique"

Why should entrepreneurship be part of the training of students in agriculture?
I think it is very important for students to make a business plan, to study a specific enterprise case. Because this allows them to see the reality and to see if their initiative fits in the economic landscape of their country. A business plan is very important in this perspective: it gives you beforehand the life of your enterprise. It informs us about the economic viability  of our idea. Whether you like it or not, all depends on the economic viability.
What are the prerequisites of a good business plan?
It first depends on how well you know your field. For example: what is the cost of the transport, of this material, etc. It is also essential to know if it will be possible to work as planned: f.i. if five day in the months are public holidays, then you have only twenty five days. One missed day has a significant impact on your business.
Are African universities ready to listen to the expertise of private enterprises?
I don't have the impression right now. As an outsider I may have a wrong judgment. But trainers/scientists already struggle for their job at the university whereby they are not taking the private expertise into account and they protect their jobs against those who have experiences on the ground
Is the youth ready to make a business out of agriculture?
Yes, I think everybody wants either to do research and express himself intellectually, or wants to express himself as an entrepreneur . But the question is whether this is easy? I would advise them to thing this twice of trice over.
How can they be supported?
To be supported they first have to make a business plan to first check if their idea can survive.  The second thing they need is training, training to start their idea.  Africa should start to create incubators. Through an incubator and as a start-up you don't need to make huge investments to buy your basic equipment. You work for 2 or 3 years with a partner. You use equipment which already exists and which is shared. And after making some profit, putting some money aside and HAVING SOME EXPERIENCE, then you can fly on your own wings. I was not so lucky. I made wrong investments and I could have worked in a different way. But that’s how it is!

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