The Business Loop (B-Loop) methodology supports MSMEs to increase their overall performance through support on training and coaching to youth micro entrepreneurs. The goals are among others: acquire new business competences and abilities, develop new products and access new growing markets, bring changes to their entrepreneurial attitudes, abilities to business negotiating, customer relations and be prepared to properly communicate, understand products and negotiate with financial service providers (commercial banks, community banks, etc..). The entire cycle last around twelve months. The B-Loop has 4 main pillars as explained below:
Place a B-Loop diagram here
Pillar One—Capacity Training Needs Assessment (CTNA): This step ensures an objective assessment of the entrepreneur’s skills and the enterprise capacities. The CTNA outputs are used to profile the micro enterprise
Pillar Two—Business Training: Business training comprises two separate training sessions each lasting for three (3) days. Training methods include lecture, role plays and group work. Training modules include: entrepreneurship, cash management, inventory, customer – supplier record-keeping, introduction to enterprise analysis, communication skills, decision-making, marketing positioning, production management, access to financial services and business planning. These two training sessions are each followed by coaching sessions.
Pillar Three—Business Coaching: At the end of the business training, the micro entrepreneur and assigned coach jointly establish their improvement targets, define roadmaps and set milestones. These practical sessions involve business coaches who accompany the micro entrepreneur implement the needed changes to achieve its goals, monitor improvements, adjust when needed accordingly reassess milestones.
Pillar Four—Access to Finance: During this training session, financial service providers (commercial and community banks), microfinance institutions and financial services associations (FSAs) are reached out to understand the scope of the program and showcase the types of financial services available. They also explain how MSMEs can have access to their products and services. It is self-voluntary step for micro entrepreneurs to decide upon which financial product best suit their enterprise needs.
After successfully going through the four pillars a graduation ceremony is conducted to showcase the achievements made over the period. Successful entrepreneurs have the opportunity if expressed to obtain vouchers to have coaches further support them (ex: develop business plans, seek new markets, etc..). The MSMEs can use the voucher a period of six months.
Over the Programme’s lifespan, the B-Loop will train a total of 1,000 MSMEs (30% managed by women) for three implementing districts of EPP III.
The expected outcomes of the intervention are the improved performance of MSMEs through: improved access to financial products, regular accounting/ balance sheets, formalisation at district national level, increased sales. This approach is used for demonstrative purposes to attract other stakeholders to use the approach, other MSMEs to engage and adopt the good practices of B-Loop beneficiaries.