Youth Entrepreneurship in Agriculture and Changing Food Systems

The global population is growing, and growing younger by the day across Africa. These young women and men are eager to start and grow their business and respond to the rising demand of not just food, but nutritional and healthy diets. Food systems are straining to provide this and need to evolve to do this sustainably. This creates challenges and opportunities in the public, private and civic sectors to develop both formal and informal markets that can drive job creation and deliver nutritious and healthy food for a growing, and urbanizing, population.
Using models, frameworks, practical case studies and interactive sessions, this course blends practical hands-on training with cutting-edge research. But it is designed not just to give you the tools to support young entrepreneurs, but also how it feels to be one. By the end of this course you will have a greater ability to both see the ‘big picture’ as well as understand the challenges young business leaders face, and come up with practical solutions to address them.
This course is only eligible for African participants given the geographic focus. It will be blended; partly online and partly face-to-face in an African country. The specific country and location is still to be finalized.

Organised by Wageningen Centre for Development Innovation

Mon 2 October 2023 until Fri 17 November 2023

Duration Part-time, face-to-face in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from 13-17 November

This course will be taught in blended format. Which means, partially online (one week equivalent) and partially in Ethiopia (one week).

What will you learn?

Course participants will learn;

  • how to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the education, labour and finance markets for youth, and how to improve them
  • how to apply various tools and models, including food systems modelling, to raise the socio-economic impact
  • from multiple country case studies what good practices to apply
  • about general trends in markets and demographics
  • how gender, age, education and access to resources makes ‘youth’ a heterogeneous group and requires different approaches to successfully target them

Course details

For whom is this course?

This course is intended for African practitioners, business leaders and policy makers, preferably with a minimum of 3 years’ practical work experience. Applicant backgrounds include;

  • Business leaders in the agri-food, educational and finance sectors
  • Practitioners in development and aid-funded programmes
  • Public sector workers and policy makers working in the fields of agriculture, education, finance or youth & gender
  • Researchers from think-tanks, universities or other educational institutes

Participants are intentionally selected from a variety of backgrounds so that during group work participants also learn from the variety of one another’s experience.

Course programme in more detail

This 2-week course blends practical, hands-on training on developing businesses for young women and men during the start of their working lives, with the big picture perspective of agri-food systems models and labour market trends. The course looks at the preparation and start of work for young people in three stages;

  1. Education. How young people perceive agri-food systems, are (dis)incentivized to engage in this sector, and how current education systems do and don’t help them to start a career, especially in starting a business.
  2. Starting a business. What are the technical, life and business skills needed to start a business, and what support does a start-up need to increase its chances of success.
  3. Scaling a business. How does a business grow from micro- to SME stage, what are the main challenges that it faces and how to overcome them.

In parallel to this, participants are introduced to food systems modelling with an emphasis on socio-economic impact. While looking at the system as a whole, particular emphasis is placed on;

  1. Household livelihoods and income, especially in rural contexts.
  2. Developing inclusive value chains for different kinds of agri-products.
  3. Healthy food for consumers, relating production and delivery to nutritious diets.

By integrating these two levels of analysis through teaching, case studies, field visits and application of tools, participants will develop a robust understanding of how complex agri-food systems function and how they can be developed to create jobs and start-up opportunities for youth with different educational backgrounds and resources.

The course integrates teaching with groupwork, developing case studies that allow participants to immediately apply the learning to real-world examples. By the end of the course, participants will be equipped with a robust understanding of a number of fields of expertise that will not only help them in their own current projects and programmes, but also what new partnerships and initiatives can be developed to improve entrepreneurial and job opportunities for young women and men.

Programme 2022 edition
Duration Part-time / 7 weeks
Study load 80 hours
Programme Facilitated sessions 7 hours per week / Self-study 7 hours per week
Break Yes, between 21-25 November

Read more about this course

Courses are currently blended

This course will be taught in blended format. Which means, partially online (one week equivalent) and partially in Ethiopia (one week).

Application for this course

On top of this page you can apply for the course 'Youth Entrepreneurship in Agriculture and Changing Food Systems'. Depending on your nationality, your organisation and the type of course you wish to join, your eligibility and the application procedures may differ. Find out more about the requirements and the application process.