Small Enterprise Development - Benin
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Info about the Small Enterprise Development - Benin
In the Bénin, Shea Butter production has long-been a staple source of income and everyday household utility for the many rural women engaged in its production. This is no less true today; however, today the benefits and veritable uses of Shea Butter are now well-known beyond the borders of Bénin and West Africa, such that Shea Butter has become a very profitable commodity, within West Africa and especially in export markets.
This combination of global market expansion with rural production realities presents a unique opportunity of income generation to many West African Shea Women's Groups (Shea Groupements), and by extension it is a significant opportunity to increase the household revenues for the many families being supported by such Shea Groupements.
Yet this opportunity is not without a formidable challenge: How are traditional rural women's groups to successfully access and participate in such modern markets in a way that is profitable and sustainable?
This is the grand challenge posed to the Shea Groupements in the region. Despite their rich and long tradition of Shea Butter production, these women are confronted by several significant obstacles immediately impeding their active participation in modern Shea markets.
This project's overarching goal is to enable fifteen of the region's Shea Groupements to major hurdles that stand between them and more profitable and sustainable participation in Shea markets. Through a series of workshops, technical trainings, and other supporting activities, this project seeks for the benefit of these women the following objectives:
1. A Shea Union. To organize and officially register with the government an operational Union of Shea-Producing Women's Groups, initially consisting of 15 participating groupements.
2. A Business Plan and Partnership. To develop with this Shea Union an actionable business/marketing plan to export their Shea Butter, and to initiate a business partnership with a Shea Butter buyer/investor pursuant to realizing this vision.
3. A Quality Shea Butter. To improve to international industry standards the quality of Shea Butter produced by each of the project's 15 participating groupements, and to provide detailed laboratory documentation attesting to this attained level of quality.
4. The Development of Business and Organizational Skills. To set in place important accounting and bookkeeping systems and procedures for the Shea Union and for each of the project's participating 15 groupements.
5. A Value-Added Product. To diversify each of the 15 groupement's Shea productions to include the fabrication of a Shea Butter-based soap to be sold in local markets.