Youth often lack the entrepreneurial skills needed to start and manage successful enterprises and fully participate in local economies. They have limited access to training that builds life skills while simultaneously reinforcing basic enterprise management principles.
Making Cents International understands the wide range of challenges young people face in starting, scaling up, and sustaining income-generating activities. Our years of market research with youth informed our development of holistic curricula that go well beyond basic enterprise management knowledge and techniques. Our curricula integrate foundational enterprising life skills and entrepreneurial attitudes and reinforce key enterprise management principles. In addition, trainees apply what they learn and benefit from ongoing coaching.
A notable example is Enterprise Your Life: Building the Capacity of Youth for Economic Engagement, a curriculum that we designed in partnership with Plan International for youth in village savings and loan associations (VSLAs) or similar groups. Enterprise Your Life (EYL) develops the entrepreneurial mindset necessary for business success. It incorporates short, targeted, training sessions, visual aids, learning activities, ongoing coaching, and applied learning methodologies. EYL demonstrably transfers key enterprising life skills and empowers youth to engage in a wide range of income-generating activities.
Making Cents rolled out EYL in Egypt in 2014, with support from the Rural Youth Economic Empowerment Program (RYEEP), funded by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and Plan Egypt. We led a collaborative process of curriculum assessment, testing, and development that tailored EYL to the specific needs of participating youth as well as the community-based VSLA leaders who work with them. To date, almost 6,000 rural youth in Egypt have participated in EYL training.
Since then, Making Cents has implemented EYL in nine other countries through a cascade training model to reach over 200,000 youth. Implementation in Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia was supported by Plan UK and Care UK through Barclay’s Banking on Change program. In 2015, Plan International’s West Africa Regional Office contracted Making Cents to implement EYL in Benin, Burkina Faso, Senegal, and Togo to benefit youth and women in Plan’s VSLA programs and the agents who support them.
The Enterprise Your Life (EYL) youth enterprise skills training showed the greatest improvement to date with members increasing their scores by 47% on average; the average score was 7 out of 12 before the training and 10.3 out of 12 after the training…. It is worth noting that some adult groups began requesting the EYL training for themselves because they found it so engaging. In the words of one youth participant: “Before, I had no plan for my business. I did not think about the risk and opportunities ahead. Now after receiving the training I have good business plan and budgeting.”
Quote from a case study by the Banking on Change Program