New economic models, that are more respectful of social welfare and more environmentally friendly, are emerging throughout the world. Paradoxically, where some economic activities are considered as detrimental in terms of their environmental impact, green entrepreneurship can be the solution to tackle global environmental and social issues, creating jobs and changing the production and consumption patterns of our society.
In the MENA countries, markets for green products and services are emerging. They represent a big ocean of opportunities for any entrepreneur attuned to the needs of consumers and able to anticipate the new demands of the market.. An advantageous positioncan be quickly reached for any entrepreneur who is able to differentiate his/her offer through green added value. These inspirational models can be seen with “The Switchers”.
In order to boost green entrepreneurship in the eight target SwitchMed countries, we are delivering a Training Programme to 2,700 entrepreneurs, with the objective of providing the basis and the structure for the development of sustainable business solutions. We offer free training sessions in almost all countries.
Between 2015 and 2016 the first round of training workshops was carried out with over 1,500 trainees. This year we will organise eight more workshops per country to help develop the green projects of new entrepreneurs, and we are looking for fresh and innovative ideas ! Do you have a green business idea but you don’t know how or where to start? Or have you already started your project but you don’t know where to find technical support or how to access finance? Join us now! The SwitchMed Training Programme is looking for green entrepreneurs like you (either individuals or in a group), who can start-up and develop economic projects that will create ecological and social value.
The training Workshops
This is a dynamic, flexible and inclusive training programme that includes a theoretical and hands-on learning methodology: a wide range of tools aims to support eco-entrepreneurs with the transformation of their ideas into a sustainable and successful business. Based on the business canvas and the lean start-up approach, it integrates the environmental aspects and impacts of the company or project in all stages of the business plan and strategy.
The green entrepreneur training programme is organised around five steps:
Step 1. Sketch & Set
You will be asked to sketch your idea and reflect on the reasons behind this idea, asking yourself “why” you want to make it happen.
Step 2. Build
You will design your project by means of the green business canvas
Step 3. Test
You will need to set your personal assumptions aside and rigorously validate your idea, by testing your proposal based on real market conditions and an hypothesis-driven approach .
Step 4. Implement
Once the model is market-validated, the time comes for you to plan the functioning and development of the project, by projecting into the future and making estimations of sales, costs and other resources needed (financial plan)
Step 5. Measure & Improve
Lastly, when your business is up and running i.e. operational, you will put a continuous improvement plan into place thereby measuring the impact of your initial objectives andlooking at how to better these.
Where, how long and when
The training workshops take place in: Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine and Tunisia; and are delivered through on-site training sessions.
The first round of training workshops started in the fall of 2015 and came to a close early 2017. The next round will start in July of 2018. It comprises of 5 sessions spread over six to seven weeks and will finish in December 2018. This gives time for participants to digest new concepts and to develop their green business canvas. Regular work is required in order to successfully follow the theoretical and practical methodology (training guides).
Please note the training guides are available in four different languages (Arabic, French, English and Hebrew).
What comes after: selection
After this first stage of training, the best 270 ideas from the region in other words the best 2 business canvases per workshop are selected by Local Trainers and Local Partners. The individuals selected then have the opportunity to review and further develop their green business canvases as a next step. These proposals are then evaluated by our International High Level Jury, and 45 go through to an 8-month accelerator support stage or ‘Incubation Phase’.
How to apply to the Training Programme
For each country, SwitchMed aims at training an average of 300 entrepreneurs. In order to apply and be selected, only a few conditions are required. Including:
- An innovative green business proposal that can be developed throughout the training sessions, which is economically viable and which will has a positive impact at an ecological and social level.
- Qualification level: A professional diploma or university degree is an asset.
- Previous experience in a relevant field relating to the proposed project specifics is desirable.
- Place of residence: you should be resident in one of the following countries including Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine and Tunisia.
Check out the SwitchMed Entrepreneurs website in order to apply before the deadline in your country: http://switchmedentrepreneurs.eu
For the development of the training programme within the different countries, SCP/RAC works in collaboration with the following Local Partners:
- Morocco : Réseau Marocain de l'Économie Sociale et Solidaire (REMESS), Fondation du Jeune Entrepreneur (FJE), Association des Enseignants des Sciences de la Vie et de la Terre au Maroc (AESVT) and Fraquemar
- Algeria: Centre National des Technologies de Production plus Propre (CNTPP) and Fondation Méditerranéenne du Développement Durable, Djanatu-al-Arif (FMDD)
- Tunisia: Centre International des Technologies de l'Environnement de Tunis (CITET) and Confédération des Entreprises Citoyennes de Tunisie (CONECT)
- Egypt: Egypt National Cleaner Production Centre (ENCPC) (in collaboration with Nahdet El Mahrousa)
- Israel: MAOF, Systemati and Weitz Center for Sustainable Development
- Jordan: Business Development Center (BDC) and Royal Scientific Society(RSS)
- Palestine: Center for Continuing Education (CCE) - Birzeit University and Palestine Academy for Science and Technology (PALAST)
- Lebanon: Business Incubation Association in Tripoli (BIAT), Green Line Association, Fondation Diane
SCP/RAC also counts with the coordination and support from the Ministries of Environment in the respective countries.
The Handbook for Green Entrepreneurs in the Mediterranean:
This book explains all the major steps for setting up your green business project. Designed to provide the necessary theoretical basis, the Handbook describes the methodology, the main concepts and the tools included in the Workbook, and presents different examples of entrepreneurs and their businesses. It will become your essential companion for your green entrepreneurial journey.
The Workbook for Green Entrepreneurs in the Mediterranean:
If trainees are successful in launching their own green businesses they can also apply to become part of our network for green start-ups in the Mediterranean and MENA region and eligible for potential further support. If this applies to you, check-out the The Switchers network now!