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close this bookTraining Programme for Women Entrepreneurs in the Food-processing Industry - Volume I (UNIDO, 1985, 356 p.)
close this folderIntroduction
View the documentThe Training Package
View the documentPotential Users
View the documentTarget Group
View the documentMethodological Approach
View the documentStructure of the Course

The Training Package

This training package aims at providing women entrepreneurs with the managerial and technical skills needed to establish and operate a small-scale enterprise within the food-processing sector. It comprises a trainer's manual which provides the trainers with guidelines for the recruitment and selection of participants, a proposal for a follow-up scheme, session guides and handouts for a student's workbook. The session guides for the technology skills training provide general guidelines only on how to use the technology manuals. These technology manuals are presented in an appendix to the training manual itself and consist of detailed technical information. Prior to utilizing the manuals in a course, they should be supplemented with a list of equipment available in the country and an overview of suppliers.

At this stage technology manuals have been developed for eleven different food processing technologies, namely dried food, vegetable oil extraction, fruits and vegetable products, cereal products, products from pulses, products from roots crops, nut products, meat products, fish products, dairy products and beverages.*)

*) Three of the technology manuals were developed by the Intermediate Technology Development Group while eight were developed by food technologists who participated in a Training of Trainers Workshop organized in Zambia in 1989. The names of the authors are listed at the end of the appendix to the training materials.

Potential Users

With necessary adaptation to the business environment, the national food consumption patterns and the availability of raw materials and processing equipment in a given country, the training package can be utilized by institutions who want to expand their current programmes by specifically targeting women. The comprehensive character of the package, that is the integration of entrepreneurial awareness, management and technology training, implies that the organizing institution should involve both trainers with a management background and trainers with a food-processing technology background.

The institution should also ensure that national resource persons are brought in as guest lecturers on subjects like tax regulations, legislation concerning small-scale industries, special credit-lines, and so on. Successful women entrepreneurs should be invited to share their experiences with the participants. In addition, the institutions should consider to take the participants on field trips to sites where on-going food-processing activities can be observed.

Target Group

The manual has been developed with the individual women entrepreneur in mind, not a group leader or a representative of a cooperative. In its current form the course targets women having a functional level of literacy and numeracy, whose main source of income is or will be their entrepreneurial activity in the food processing sector, be it full-time or part-time. However, the training material can be adapted to suit different target groups. It is recommended to choose a homogeneous group, that is female entrepreneurs with similar social and educational backgrounds.

Methodological Approach

The methodological approach used throughout the course is "learning by doing". This concept emphasizes the active participation of the trainees, the role of the trainer is to act as a facilitator and not as a traditional teacher.

In contrast to the classical transfer of knowledge from teacher to student by lectures/ demonstrations the essence of this concept is to stimulate awareness of the skills required to start and run a small-scale business successfully. These skills are developed by first eliciting the existing knowledge of the participants and then deepening and/or broadening this knowledge by practical exercises.

In this context counselling is an important feature of the course. The counselling process assists each individual to apply general issues to their particular situation. Discussions in the counselling sub-groups (three to five participants) are structured by the trainer with reference to the actual topic of the course. Depending on participants' needs, the counselling sessions can also be used for role-plays or games to elucidate aspects of personal behaviour.

Structure of the Course

The structure of the five-weeks course (not including the field study) reflects the above methodological approach. At the beginning of the course an atmosphere should be created in which the participants feel responsible for what they get out of the training by playing an active role. The managerial and technical training is not intended to give the participants concrete solutions to the varied problems they will face but to offer them information and to stimulate their ability to use the information and skills for effective problem solving.

Entrepreneurial awareness training is integrated into management skills training. In order to make the learning situation resemble a real life situation the training is built up around the so-called "Enterprise Experience". Each participant is asked to establish and run a real micro business on the site, for at least the first three weeks of the training programme. In these "Enterprise Experience" businesses participants can apply and improve the newly learned skills and recognize their strengths and weaknesses. The "Enterprise Experience" is introduced during the first week of the course and is followed the same week by a section on technology options. This section aims at enabling the participants to identify the range of technology choices and possible products. It examines the opportunities and constraints of different products and processes for small-scale entrepreneurs from a technical viewpoint (e.g. type of preservation, hygiene needs, facilities and equipment required).

The second and third week are assigned to training in management skills. All sessions are closely linked to the "Enterprise Experience" and the respective micro-businesses are used as models to illustrate different topics. Towards the end of the third week the management and technology trainers should jointly prepare the participants for their field studies.

The two to three week field study will be carried out by each participant at her home location and should be used to research up-to-date and relevant local information which is needed to start a business. Such information includes marketing and distribution aspects, raw material and equipment costs, competitors, and production costs.

During the field study, the participants should make their technology choice and report back to the instructor and the organizing institution so that in their absence the equipment necessary to facilitate the practical technical skills training can be obtained.

The week following the individual field studies aims at enabling participants to prepare a production plan for their technology choice. The development of technology skills, applied to the participants' individual food commodities, provides a detailed knowledge of processing technology, quality control, work organization and a preliminary financial evaluation of production procedures. It is an experiental component in which participants operate their production processes and assume managerial responsibility.

During the last week of the course, participants synthesize the managerial and technical aspects of the course in the preparation of a planning document - a business plan. This plan becomes a tool which can be used as a basis for establishing their future business. The plans should be presented to a panel of invited bankers and representatives from other institutions.

A summary of the course structure is given below.





Week 1

Day 1 + 2

To enable participants to understand the purpose of the course; necessity to develop entrepreneurial behaviour, management and technical skills

- Introduction and levelling of expectations

- Introduction of personal entrepreneurial characteristics by using the "Enterprise Experience" approach

- Entrepreneurial behaviour of women in business

Week 1

Day 3 - 5

To enable participants to identify the range of technology choices and possible products quality

- Classification of food products

- Spoilage, preservation and hygiene

- Effects of processing on food

- Advantages and constraints for income generation

- Selection of suitable products and technologies

Weeks 2 + 3

To enable participants to understand the basic entrepreneurial behaviour and develop management skills

- Creation of business ideas and establishment of businesses within the framework of the "Enterprise Experience"

- Marketing

- Costing and pricing

- Financial management

- Efficiency

- Introduction of business plan

- Preparation of field study

Field Study

To enable participants to obtain realistic information and data for their business plans

- Individual field research

Week 4

To enable participants to prepare a production plan and to strengthen their awareness of technical opportunities and constraints for each product chosen by participants

For each product selected by participants:

- Raw material selection and preparation

- Processing-scale, equipment

- Work organization and quality control

- Packaging

- Practical production programme to experience technical and managerial aspects of operating a small food processing business

Week 5

To enable participants to combine all technical and management aspects in a planning document which then can be used by participants to establish or enhance their businesses

- Individual preparation of a business plan

- Presentation of business plans to a panel of invited bankers and representatives from other institutions