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WPDI and Gemini Enterprises Africa launch the Business Boot Camp in Juba

WPDI and its partner Gemini Enterprises Africa have just started our first Business Boot Camp, a dynamic process aimed at building a new generation of young entrepreneurs in South Sudan. In June, we took the first step in the process with the launch of a business plan competition that will yield three thriving youth-led businesses within three month. The winner will receive 3,000$ and the next two respectively 2,000$ and 1,000$. These sums will be complemented with and conditioned to intensive trainings and backstopping as the newly mint entrepreneurs develop their businesses.

The Business Boot Camp is a process that we just set up with GeminiEnterprise to promote youth entrepreneurship in vulnerability- and fragility-affected contexts, starting with South Sudan, a country torn by an ongoing civil war, but where hope has not died that a sustainable future is within reach if opportunities are seized in the present. Responding to that hope, the Business Boot Camp is a component of our flagship youth empowerment program, the Youth Peacemaker Network, through which we provide young people with tangible and intangible resources so they can transform their communities from within, one project at a time. A growingly popular piece of our program, the business skills trainings has been attracting numerous candidates at our Community Learning Centers, notably the one we have in Juba, the capital city of South Sudan.

Taking stock of this thirst for entrepreneurship, we decided to take the next step and go beyond training young women and men. The idea is to help talented and creative aspiring entrepreneurs set up actual businesses – not just by providing funding, which we will, but also by monitoring and advising the successful project bearers through a dedicated committee gathering representatives of WPDI and Gemini Enterprises Africa along with national and international stakeholders.

The 32 young women and men who entered the competition are all certified graduates from the training courses in business skills that we offer at our Community Learning Center in Juba. Because they have been through our curriculum and passed the final written exams, we know for sure that they have the right foundation to undertake a business. With the Business Boot Camp, we will ensure that they become full-fledged entrepreneurs with a sustainable and viable business. 

We plan to hold four such competitions at our Community Learning Centers in South Sudan and Uganda per year. Our hope is that the Business Boot Camp will be a success measured not only in the number of businesses that will thrive, but also in the number of partners that will gather around this future-building initiative.