des jeunes reçoivent des formations des compétences au CARREFOUR EQWIP Tanzania.

15 Jul Changing lives through skills training

Young people, aged 15-24 account for 16% of the global population. They are almost three times more likely to be unemployed than adults and are exposed to lower quality of jobs, greater labor market inequalities, and longer and more insecure school-to-work transitions. Of the 1.2 billion youth globally, 64 million are unemployed and 145 million young workers are living in poverty. And young women are more likely than young men to be underemployed and under-paid, and to undertake part-time jobs or work under temporary contracts[i]

Powered by Canada World Youth and Youth Challenge International, the EQWIP HUBs project supports employment and economic opportunities for youth, including entrepreneurial training and business coaching to help young women and men identify and launch innovative and sustainable businesses. Funded in part by Global Affairs Canada, the project also seeks to improve the social and economical position of marginalized groups, such as young women. In most of the countries where EQWIP HUBs operate, girls and women face additional barriers to receiving quality education and employment than their male peers.

For this World Youth Skills Day, we sat down with some of the women graduates of our entrepreneurial program to hear about their journey through the EQWIP HUBs training and becoming business-owners.


compétences des jeunes

Cintya is a third-round recipient of the Youth Innovation Fund from EQWIP HUBs Chiclayo, Peru. Before becoming involved in the EQWIP HUBs project, she was employed at a university but lost her job when she became pregnant.  Starting her own business was not easy. It was difficult to find support and she had little business experience. Cintya was able to get together enough money to rent the necessary machinery but carpentry and furniture-making is a male dominated field, and no one would take her seriously. She encountered a lack of confidence from customers, particularly male, about her abilities. Through the EQWIP HUBs project Cintya learned the skills and the confidence necessary in running a successful business and adopted the environmental lessons of the project to begin using sustainable materials and methods.

Now, both women and men are buying her custom-made products and she is making enough of an income to support herself, her young son, and her mother. Cintya knows first-hand that becoming an entrepreneur isn’t easy and is proud that she persevered and now runs a successful furniture making company, El Detallón, that is also helping the environment.

Her advice to future women entrepreneurs:
“Believe in yourself! Strengthen your skills, do your research, persevere and follow your dreams!”


compétences des jeunes


Oumou is a second-round Youth Innovation Fund recipient from St. Louis, Senegal, who has launched her own livestock feed company, GIE Takhawu Juurgui. Oumou recognized that livestock feed was a predominantly male industry and she knew being the only woman in the business would make it that much more difficult. Already the high costs of renting a store and the lack of support from her family, made the idea of owning her own business seemingly impossible. The EQWIP HUBs project provided Oumou with the training and the funding she needed to take her idea to market. The coaching and mentoring support she received from other successful entrepreneurs in the local community gave her the confidence that she could not only launch and run a business on her own, but that it would be successful.

Now, Oumou is proud that she has shown the people who didn’t believe in her that she can do it and is happy to receive the respect at the market that she deserves as the only woman in the livestock feed business.

Her advice to aspiring women entrepreneurs:
“Do the training and the research and go for it!”


compétences des jeunes


Marleni is a second-round Youth Innovation Fund Recipient from EQWIP HUBs La Paz, Bolivia. Her dream of becoming an accessories designer didn’t seem possible as she faced a lot of gender discrimination in attempting to find support: a bank loan wasn’t an option as they were less likely to grant loans to women and she found many people didn’t believe in her work. Through the EQWIP HUBs project, Marleni received the training, mentoring and funds necessary to launch and run her own business.

Now, she owns and operates her own company, Green Tag, producing beautiful and unique ecological accessories using natural raw materials, such as yarn tocuyo fabric (100% natural wool). Her ecological fashion accessories include shoulder bags, backpacks, pencil cases and wallets. By using sustainable materials and design, Marleni creates versatile and durable products and is proud to be raising environmental awareness.

While her journey isn’t over, Marleni acknowledges that without the support of the project she wouldn’t have been able to get to where she is. Through the relationships built as part of the EQWIP HUBs Network, she hopes to receive additional funding so she can expand her accessories company.

Her advice to aspiring women entrepreneurs:
“Follow your dreams and passions! You are agents of change; learn from your failures!”


compétences des jeunes


Vaileth is a round-one Youth Innovation Fund recipient from EQWIP HUBs Mwanza, Tanzania. Vaileth noticed a need in her community as people had to travel long distances to buy clothes. She wanted to start her own business but was afraid she wouldn’t be successful as she was young and had no experience. Gender prejudices held her back as, no one believed that she could run a successful business as a young woman, and it was difficult to get a loan. The EQWIP HUBs training showed her how to develop a business plan that included market research, risk analysis and how to attract customers, and, provided the start-up funding needed to launch her venture.

Now, she is called boss lady and is often asked for her advice thanks to the success of her clothing business, Vio Fashion and Garment Design.

Her advice to aspiring women entrepreneurs:
“Know where you want to start your business; do your research; find a good location; learn who your customers are and what they need; and what are the prices of your competitors. Have a new idea every day. Keep trying and keep doing!”


compétences des jeunes


Nafisah is a third-round Youth Innovation Fund recipient from EQWIP HUBs Surabaya, Indonesia. Nafisah already knew she wanted to be a caterer, but she didn’t have any experience in launching a business. There were additional challenges she faced as a young girl: her family didn’t allow her to drive a car or stay out past her curfew, and she couldn’t access a bank loan without collateral. Through the EQWIP HUBs project, Nafisah learned integral business strategies, like the importance of building a network, and was granted a start up loan.

Now, Nafisah rides a motorbike to get around and has fulfilled her dream of running her own catering company, NAF CUISINE. She is proud to be supporting herself and empowering her community and the people around her.

Her advice to aspiring women entrepreneurs:
“(Ask) what are the community’s needs and how can I meet them? Network. Just do it! Do not give up! Remember what your goal is!”


EQWIP HUBs is powered by two leading international youth agencies, Canada World Youth and Youth Challenge International and is funded, in part, by Global Affairs Canada. As part of Canada’s, Volunteer Cooperation Program, EQWIP HUBs seeks to increase the capacity of local partners to provide sustainable and impactful youth programming and enhance Canadian’s participation in, and understanding of, its global development efforts.

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