About 1,000 innovative business ideas win access to finance in North and South Kordofan states in Sudan
April 17th marked the Award Ceremony of Business Idea Competition held in El-Obeid City the capital of North Kordofan State. As part of joint MDGs Spanish Fund project for creating Youth Employment in Sudan, UNDP partnered with SUDIA, a local NGO, to organize a Business Ideas Competition for youth. A total of 2,375 young entrepreneurs participated in the competition and 970 business ideas were select by an independent panel as winners for the Competition was open to all young women and men from the states of North and South Kordofan states.
Initially the project aimed at awarding start-up grants to top forty youth business ideas who won the competition through successful presentation of their innovative business ideas. Capitalizing on the role of the private sector and its commitment to corporate social responsibility, UNDP in partnership with DAL group availed additional 20 grants for wining project proposals. The project managed to make a breakthrough Leveraging on its partnership with the Microfinance Unit in the Central Bank of Sudan and managed to avail financing for all 970 winners. All wining youth business ideas were also awarded free of charge membership in North Kordofan Business association. These young entrepreneurs will create sustainable employment opportunities.
For transparency in the selection of winning business ideas, an independent Awards Selection Panel was set up to screen and select the winning business ideas. The Awards Selection Panel is comprised of 7 members who are selected from the business community, local government, Microfinance providers, UNDP institutional partners and civil society.
The event was under the auspicious of North Kordofan State Wali, and attended by state minister of Youth and Sports, UNDP Country Director, officials of the Spanish embassy in Khartoum, representative of local NGOs, the Private Sector and local press.
Self-employment is one of the most effective ways to counter the rising global challenge of youth unemployment and poverty. In the states of Northern and Southern Kordofan, and Blue Nile UNDP continues its efforts to promote strategies and ideas for Youth Employment across Sudan.
Speaking at the event, UNDP Country Director Sayed Aqa stated that our ultimate hope is to support projects that contribute in enhancing economic opportunities, generate employment for youth and to reduce poverty in Sudan.
H.E Mustasim Merghany, the Wali of North Kordofan State praised UNDP developmental role in the State and valued this supportive initiative to youth. He emphasized that UNDP should consider establishing presence in the state to support human development efforts.
‘We strongly believe that small enterprises are key to post conflict economic development and to jump start economic activities’, Spanish Embassy representative Manuel Gonzalez said in his speech.
The Sudanese Development Initiative (SUDIA), a national NGO collaborated in the launch and organizition of the Business Idea Competition in the target states. SUDIA team was supported at both the Federal and State levels by youth members from the Youth Employment Units attached to the Ministry of Youth and Sports (MoYS) in addition to the Microfinance Unit at the Central Bank of Sudan, DAL, HAC, and Businessmen Federation.
Yusra Salim, Communications Analyst, UNDP Sudan, firstname.lastname@example.org