Training of Mentor Trainers from the Ministry of Labour and Women Entrepreneurship
The Business Development Project in Iraq is financed by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
From the 29th of September to the 3rd of December, Bjorn Reite, Wiggo Slåttsveen from BIP Norway and Iraq Project Manager Hussein Tahir conducted Mentor Training for sixteen selected trainers and partners from the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs and the Women Entrepreneurship project.
In addition, meetings to plan activities for 2016 were held with following Iraqi partners: Ministry of Labour and Social affairs represented by General Manager Azizi Okbi and Raid J. Bahidh Head of Vocational Training and the Relation and Media Department in the Ministry, Public Aid Organisation represented by Chairman of the Borad Hogr Ch. Shekha and project manager Nazar Jamil Abdulazeez and Alola represented by Manager Altmimi and trainer Altai.
The BIP “Mentor Program” is the next step in building the BIP “pyramid of expertise" after the first two steps; “Business Plan Development” and “Business Start Up”. The aim of the training was to give the participants theoretical knowledge and practical tools to assist start ups and existing businesses in continuous improvement and growth.
The main elements in the training were systems, understanding of variation, problem solving, growth, tools for organizational climate surveys, marketing position and how to handle difficult people. The evaluation of the seminar was superb and all participants rated the content important for future work with business start ups and existing businesses.
The trainers will be the second generation of BIP Mentor Trainers in Iraq. They will take responsibility for Business Startup trainings and the follow up of existing businesses established through the program in their regions. In addition, they will function as a support team for other trainers.
Duhok, Erbil and Sulaymaniyah hosted BPD Training for Refugees and IDPs.
Business Innovation Programs (BIP) in cooperation with local partner Public Aid Organization (PAO) completed seven training courses for refugees and Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) in the period May to November 2015.
The seven courses sere implemented as follows; 2 in Baharka Camp, 2 in Kawergosik Camp, 1 in Arbat camp, 1 in Dohuk and 1 in Sulaymaniyah. The courses attracted 140 participants, 70 of whom were women.
The results of the courses were excellent with the participants showing a high degree of interest combined with the hope that they are doing the best they can for bright future. Many participants have already decided to start their own business as soon as they are home, and some will use the BIP methods to build other new futures.
BIP and PAO will meet again soon to make a map for the coming years to try to do their best to make new courses for refugees from Syria and IDPs from Iraq.
MORE THAN 1,100 NEW ENTERPRISES STARTED IN NORWEGIAN BACKED PROJECT IN IRAQ
In close cooperation with several ministries in Iraq and funded by the Norwegian Foreign Ministry the BIP program has since 2011 contributed to the startup of more than 1,100 new businesses in Iraq. Many of these companies have been started by young people, women and people who were unemployed.
The situation in Iraq is challenging, but in spite of this the project shows that there are still tremendous opportunities to create new jobs and get started with one’s own new business. Even refugees in Iraq are excited by the approach and have eagerly attended our startup trainings in refugee camps.
When considering the cooperation with ministries in Iraq it means that about 150 people are certified as trainers and carry out training of would-be-entrepreneurs across almost all of Iraq. "A brilliant project that we need more of" says a representative from the Ministry of Labour in Iraq.
GREAT SUCCESS WITH NORWEGIAN PROGRAM IN REFUGEE CAMPS IN IRAQ
The first attempts at running training courses for refugees in Iraq has been a great success. The courses are run both for internally displaced Iraqis and refugees from Syria.
There are major challenges being a refugee in Iraq, but in spite of this experience shows that starting a business is exciting and engaging. The refugees are looking at the possibility of starting businesses either in refugee camps or as preparation for later repatriation.
So far, 140 refugees have participated in the program being tested in refugee camps mainly in northern Iraq. There have been many attendees and our local partners would like to expand the program.
Ali, one of the participants from the course at Bahirka Camp in Erbil, who showed great interest and insight, now works as a trainer for other refugees.
New Fair for Small Businesses in Najaf
KOIKA's Country Manager in Iraq, an organization from the Republic of South Korea, praised Business Innovation Programs' work in Iraq.
On October 28th 2015, at the Vocational Training Centre in Najaf, the General Directory of Vocational Training in Cooperation with Business Innovation Programs organized a new Business Fair in Najaf. Eng. Aziz Ibrahim Khalil from the Directory of Vocational Training opened the Fair.
The Najaf Business Fair was attended by 14 different new start-up companies. In addition more than 100 guests from foreign countries, various local Government Offices, Ministry of Labor & Social Affairs, organizations, newspaper media/TV Channels were present. Among the attendees were the General Manager of Vocational Training Eng. Aziz Ibrahim Khalil and KOIKA Country Manager Mr. Kyo Seung Shin. Mr. Shin said; “I am very impressed by the work done by Business Innovation Programs in Iraq targeted at business startups.” He was very interested in our work and expressed hope for success for the fair and development for Iraq.
14 new start-up companies presented their services and products. They showed how the Business Plan Development training offered by Business Innovation Programs gave them hope and competence to evaluate the potential in their business plans.
The Najaf Vocational Training Center, represented at the Fair by three certified trainers and the center manager, has used the methods and tools developed by Business Innovation Program since 2012 with great success. All of the 14 start-up companies that exhibited their products and services had qualified to participate at the New Business Fair by having successfully completed the training program. At the fair they exhibited not only samples of their products and services, but also their business plans, budgets and action plans developed during the training sessions. Many of the companies have already started production on a small scale to demonstrate that their business concepts are sustainable and that their products and services are of the highest quality. Many of them are now waiting to receive necessary financing in the form of Small Business Loans. When the finances are in place it is expected that their businesses can “take off” and create new jobs in the region.
Business Fair for small and medium sized companies in Nasrya
On October 4th 2015 at the Vocational Training Centre in Nasrya, the General Directory of Vocational Training in cooperation with Business Innovation Programs organized the Business Fair in Nasrya.
The Business Fair was attended by over 40 different new start-up companies. In addition a total of over 250 guests from various local government offices, the Ministry of Labor & Social Affairs, various organizations, newspapers and TV Channels were present. Among the attendees were the General Manager of Vocational Training Eng. Aziz Ibrahim Khalil. During a meeting with BIP Project Manager he expressed his thanks to the Norwegian Authorities for their help and support in creating a nationwide program where Business Innovations Programs training methods for startups is facilitating the creation of many local companies and jobs all over the country.
In addition to the many stands and displays were the 40 new start-up companies presented their service and products, The Project Manager of Business Innovation Programs presented his work in how the program was implemented and the direct and indirect result and impact of 73 Certify Trainers, 8 Mentor Trainers over 34 Vocational Training Centers and 3 Labor Centers in Iraq with more than 11000 BPD course participants.
Trainers and Business starter from 4 centers participated in the Business Fair, Nasrya, Shatra, Suq Alshiokh and Aljibaish.
All of the 40 start-up companies that exhibited their products and services had qualified to participate at the New Business Fair by having successfully completed the BIP BPD training program. They all had with them not only samples of their products and services, but also their business plans, budgets and action plans that they had put together with help from BIP and the training scheme. Many of the companies have already started production on a small scale to demonstrate that their business concepts are viable and that their products and services are of the highest quality. Most of them are now waiting to receive necessary and invaluable financing in the form of Small Business Loans. When these are in place it is expected that their businesses can really “take off” and they can realize the full potential of their business ideas and create many new jobs around the country.
Ali - from participant to Business Start-up Trainer in Bahirka Camp
Five months ago BIP and the Public Aid Organization (PAO) organized a business start up training for Iraqi refugees displaced at the Bahirka Camp in Erbil.
Ten women and ten men participated in the training, and Ali was one of them. Before he had to leave his home and become one of hundreds of thousands of internally displaced persons in Iraq destined for a difficult life in a camp, Ali worked as a teacher in Mosul.
However, during the training Ali showed his unique pedagogic talent and understanding of the BIP training methods and tools. His understanding, questions and performance were of extraordinary quality.
Ali was therefore chosen to join the team of Start-up Trainers. The aim is to train and certify a team of trainers among internally displaced and refugees in Iraq. Through this approach, BIP and our partner PAO aim to make the Start-up Trainings a sustainable activity in the camps throughout Iraq.
Twenty new young women and men joined the third business start up training. Ali joined the team of trainers and did an excellent job. Since Ali lives in the camp, his ability to understand the participant`s situation is of outmost importance for the dialog during the training and the final outcome of the training.
The project ideas developed by the participants were mostly activities they would like to implement while still living in the camp, hoping to improve their living standard and convert the time in the camp to a time for gaining new knowledge and development.
The participant’s written evaluation of the training showed excellent results. They evaluated the accommodation, content of the workshop and trainers performance. Comments were given concerning the training as a turning point in their camp lives, from hopelessness to see new opportunities in the future.
New “Start your Business” trainings in camps for refugees and internally displaced person in Iraq
Business Innovation Programs (BIP) in cooperation with our local partner Public Aid Organization (PAO) completed two test trainings for refugees and internally displaced persons in June 2015. Since this was a pilot an extended evaluation was implemented. Some of the results:
These comments from the participants show that BPD trainings may help to provide new business and establish new jobs within the camps.
There are more than 30 camps in the Kurdish of Iraq area with nearly two million refugees from Syria and displaced persons from Iraq. These numbers indicates major needs for meaningful activities in the camps. Today the activities are currently not sufficient and the daily life in the camps can easily be characterized by passivity.
The BIP and PAO team are now planning to implement six new trainings in camps located close to Erbil, Duhok and Suleimaniya. The team consists of BIP trainers, PAO personnel and selected participants from the first two trainings participating with the aim of becoming future trainers.
PAO & BIP start up course to establish Future Joint Team.
The Business Innovation Team and the Public Aid Organization have started the process for preparing a joint team to implement BPD courses in Refugee and Internal Displacement Camps.
BIP’s Hoger Chatto, Nazar and Nazim lead the training at the PAO premises. The topic on hand was “Building Capacity in Civil Society & Training Skills” and the course was held in the period 25-28 June. The first course participants were personnel from PAO, BIP, volunteer workers and selected participants from the camps.
There were eighteen participants at this training, ten from PAO working with refugees, BIP coordinators, three volunteers and four selected course participants. The selected course participants had been nominated for the test courses at the Baharka and Kawergosk Camps.
BIP with local partner PAO are working to realize a vision to organize courses for refugees from Iraq and Syria in camps. This decision needs more work and another qualification training to make the joint team ready to implement courses for refugees & IDP.
The feedback on the idea from the participants was positive. They are already starting working with refugees to invest time and build experience.
Eighteen New BPD Trainers for Entrepreneurship Section, VT Directorate - MoYS
The third and final BPD training in the “Training of Trainers” (ToT) program was led by Labor Mentor Trainers and BIP Project Manager. The fourth round of certifying new trainers for the Labor Ministry included 18 new trainers and the qualifying of two Mentor Trainers. The training was held from June 06 to June 10.
The total number of qualified trainers the Labor Ministry now has is 73 trainers. These trainers lead the BPD courses at 34 Vocational Training Centers and 3 Labor Centers in Iraq.
The Relationship & Information Section Manager and the Entrepreneurship Section Manager attended the sessions and spoke on the opening day and during the certification ceremony on the last day. They expressed the Ministry’s thanks to BIP and the Norwegian Foreign Ministry for a fruitful project. They told that the forming of the Vocational Training Directorate means that BPD trainings will be one of the main trainings in the Ministry’s system to establish new small businesses and create new jobs.
From Erbil: “Start your Business” training in Refugee- & IDP Camps.
Business Innovation Programs in cooperation with local partner Public Aid Organization (PAO) have made two trainings for refugees that are in camps in Iraq. The refugees came both from Syria and from Iraq and attended the training with the aim of testing their own business ideas and to see if starting a small business is possible.
There are today more than thirty camps for refugees in Iraq with and more than three millions people are living under difficult conditions. Before they were forced to flee, most of the refugees had their own home, work, school and a network of family and friends to give support in daily life. In other words days filled with meaningful activities.
A stay in a refugee camp can for many be a traumatic experience and it is not easy to be integrated in the local community. One solution is to start meaningful activities such competence development and capacity building in the camps. The training program “How to Start Your Own Business” is such an activity and for many also a possibility to plan and start a small business inside the camp. For others the training can be of importance in order to plan for starting up when one day they will return home.
Business Innovation Programs in cooperation with the Iraqi NGO Public Aid Organization therefore started a pilot to test this concept in Kawergosk and Bahirka Refugee Camps. Each of the trainings had 20 participants and lasted for five days. The pilot was financed by The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and conducted between the 24th of May and the 6th of June 2015.
Since this was a pilot an extended evaluation was implemented. Some of the results:
We also asked if they would recommend this training to others, the result was 100% yes. There is however a challenge to find suitable rooms for trainings. This is especially a problem during the hot period of the year. A solution can be to rent training facilities outside the camps.
Manager of Entrepreneurship Section Opens The Second ToT Course for MoLSA Trainers .
Certifying process for MoLSA locale trainers from 10 Vocational Training Centers in Iraq is underway. Entrepreneurship Section Manager Eng. Mushraq Abdulkhaliq held speech in the opening day. Abdulkhaliq expressed his thanks to the Norwegian Foreign Ministry and BIP for fruitful project.
Mentor trainers Eng. Mohamed Abdulsatar and Uday Assi under supervising of Project Manager leading the second course and doing very well. They are completing the Business Plan Development forms and leading the new locale trainers to good start of small business trainings and bright future.
These 8 women and 13 men represent Vocational Training Centers in Babel, Shatra, Almjar Alkaber, Najaf, Chibaish, Alshaab, Alsadr, Alwazerea, Aboghreb Ghthaya and Hai Ur.
Business Plan Development courses in camps for IDP (internally displaced persons) and refugees.
Organizing BPD (business plan development) courses for internal displaced persons and refugees from Syria can turn out to be a meaningful activity for some of the refugees. Preparing for new possibilities while waiting in a camp may help the participants to see a brighter future. To study this new possibility, Business Innovation Programs represented by Erbil Office coordinator Mr. Omar Karim Ahmed, has organized a lecture in which Business Innovation Programs “toolbox” was presented and plans for tests in two camps was discussed. The lecture took place in Erbil on 18th March 2015 in the premises of Public Aid Organization, Business Innovation Programs main partner in Iraq.
There were thirteen participants in this seminar, mainly from NGOs working within the refugee camps. All of them have experience and knowledge about needs expressed within the two groups of refugees and could provide valuable input to the training concept. The seminar began with a presentation of Business Innovation Programs from the beginning in 1996, reviewing its main activities in West-Balkan countries and its later activities in KRG-Iraq. Then the possibility of organizing BDP courses in the IDP and emigrant camps was discussed.
The feedback on the idea from the participants was positive. The main conclusion was that entrepreneurial training, like the one operated bay Business Innovation Program, could represent a meaningful activity for development of personal skills, self esteem, cooperation and motivate for a proactive positive behavior while staying in the camp. The participants also confirmed that a significant part of the refugees were people who had previous business experience. Some of them even had small businesses and projects in their country before they had to flee their homes. An entrepreneurial training with practical approach could refresh their experiences and create new ideas.
Labor Ministry Local Trainers (Mentors) Lead First Training-of-Trainers (ToT) Course for Ministry of Labor & Social Affairs (MoLSA).
Labor Ministry Local Mentor Trainers Eng. Mohamed Abdulsatar and Uday Assi under supervision of the Project Manager lead the first course of the ToT program for the Labor & Social Affairs Ministry in Karbala in the period 01-05 March.
The two local certified trainers did very well and showed a high level of training skills, while the course participants hope to reach same level in the near future. The 21 candidates from 10 Vocational Training Centers will be ready for their certifyication during 2015. These local trainers from MoLSA participated in this course as part of the training plan for MoLSA. One of the Entrepreneurship Dept. personnel also joined the course. She was very happy to learn the methods and to know more about it.
8 women and 13 men participated in the course. These candidates represent Vocational Training Centers in Babel, Shatra, Almjar Alkaber, Najaf, Chibaish, Alshaab, Alsadr, Alwazerea, Aboghreb Ghthaya and Hai Ur.
They need to be able to start BPD courses for jobless who are registered in the Job Centers database. They will undertake five BPD courses and will do training quality control in the last stage of the certification plan. These processes will lead them to become BIP certified trainers in Iraq during 2015.