Entrepreneurship Value Chain Development Model
Since its inception SUGECO has worked to promote agriculture and agribusiness as a genuine option for self-employment. To attain this ambitious goal and create youth entrepreneurs, SUGECO has created a business model that aims to transform the minds of youth to become more creative, innovative, and entrepreneurial in order to stimulate agribusiness development and create employment. This value chain development model has five phases.
Emerging international evidence, along with SUGECO’s own experience, shows that successful interventions supporting entrepreneurial transformation need to go beyond basic access to financial capital and business training. They need first to tackle the psychological, social and life skills constraints that prevent entrepreneurs from reaching their full potential. SUGECO addresses these constraints by requiring all trainees to participate in its innovative MINDSET program aimed at helping participants to identify their own aspirations and needs - and what is required to be successful. This is key to developing innovative, knowledgeable entrepreneurs who are open to the inherent risks of new ideas and capable of identifying fresh opportunities. SUGECO’s MINDSET courses are generally 4-10 days in length and are tailored to the age, qualifications and experiences of each group of participants.
SUGECO offers a wide range of short (5-14 day) courses which add value to agriculture production. These include fruit and vegetable processing, juice making, bee keeping, goat fattening, horticulture, greenhouse construction and production and rabbit and poultry farming. A focus of each course is to process nutritious and safe agricultural products in a sustainable manner.
Entrepreneurship and Business Planning
The business side of agriculture is generally provided in tandem with the above technical component. Participants receive training and support in writing business plans, calculating production costs, tracking expenses, pricing products and calculating the rate of return on investment. Young entrepreneurs learn to identify either new market opportunities or address existing market failures. In terms of post-training support, SUGECO serves as a liaison between entrepreneurs and financial institutions thereby facilitating their access to credit
Internship and Apprenticeship Attachments
The next phase aims to provide entrepreneurs with practical experience in their specific area of focus (horticulture, bee keeping etc.). This can vary from two week unpaid attachments on local farms to paid yearlong internships in Israel and the United States. Each participant is exposed to new technologies, work attitudes, market systems, business management and networking from a hands on, practical perspective. In Israel, the participants are released weekly to attend university courses on farming technology.
The incubation phase provides the time and space for selected entrepreneurs to develop and test their business ideas. The incubation program is designed to promote innovative product development and cultivate business development skills. Participants are exposed to agribusiness value chain and involved in detailed peer-to-peer business plan writing.