October 13, 2023 - October 11th was a day of joy and emotions for Togolese entrepreneurs in Lomé. In the presence of His Excellency, the Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany in Togo, Dr. Claudius Fischbach, and many distinguished guests and stakeholders in the business ecosystem, 12 entrepreneurs who had previously received support from the WIDU.africa project were recognized for their business projects and the positive impact of their entrepreneurial activities in their community.
In his opening speech, Dr. Claudius Fischbach stated that this event "pays tribute to German cooperation and honors entrepreneurs who fill us with pride and admiration due to their outstanding achievements." The Ambassador added that he was impressed by the WIDU.africa project, describing it as a "remarkable initiative contributing to a prosperous, inclusive, and respectful future, inspired and initiated by members of the African diaspora in close collaboration with German cooperation, particularly the GIZ." Furthermore, he emphasized that "WIDU.africa is a shining example of how the vision and dedication of the diaspora can bring about transformative change to create jobs."
The Diaspora - A Real Success Factor for Micro and Small Enterprises in Togo
Previously, the WIDU Awards took place in December 2022 in Kenya and last June in Ghana. With the WIDU Togo Awards, WIDU.africa reaffirms the potential of collaboration with the African diaspora to promote economic development on the continent. The project intends to further expand its commitment to micro and small enterprises in Africa, especially in the following six African countries: Togo, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Kenya, Ghana, and Tunisia.
Tom Sorensen, Regional Coordinator of the WIDU.africa project, highlighted the fundamental approach of WIDU.africa, based on identifying challenges initially raised by the diaspora. "The first problem was to make money transfers more sustainable. The second was to coordinate with the person to whom this money would be transferred. And finally, it was about making this transfer more profitable." This realization favored the initiation of the first collaborative project between the African diaspora and German cooperation to support micro and small enterprises in Africa.
Since the launch of the WIDU.africa project in Togo in 2020, a project implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH and mandated by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), a total of about 776,000 euros have been collectively invested by entrepreneurs and their close diaspora members in micro and small enterprises. This has supported 570 micro and small enterprises across the entire Togolese territory and facilitated the creation of nearly 920 jobs.
WIDU.africa complements its support to entrepreneurs with tailored coaching
The WIDU.africa project demonstrates its impact not only through support in terms of access to funding for micro and small enterprises but also by accompanying entrepreneurs during the launch and development of their businesses. In Togo, this technical support, provided in collaboration with the Federation of Women Entrepreneurs and Businesswomen (FEFA), is characterized by individualized coaching sessions tailored to the needs of entrepreneurs, thus contributing to the viability of their activities.
During his address, Mr. Kossivi Houngbedji, Operations Manager at FEFA, reflected on the productive partnership between the Federation and the WIDU.africa project in supporting and coaching entrepreneurs benefiting from the program. "Since 2020, FEFA Togo has accompanied and supported entrepreneurs through on-field coaching sessions. More than 900 coaching visits have been conducted by the coaches of FEFA Togo, including around 300 for women entrepreneurs."
WIDU Togo Awards: 12 Togolese Entrepreneurs Recognized for Innovative and Sustainable Projects
During this lively ceremony, 12 WIDU Togo Awards were presented to small Togolese businesses in four categories:
- Agribusiness ;
- Young Entrepreneurs ;
- Crafts ;
The awardees were recognized based on clear selection criteria for their innovative business ideas and their high value to the community, environment, or job creation.
His Excellency, the Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany in Togo, Dr. Claudius Fischbach, seized this opportunity to congratulate the awardees and nominees of the competition. He said, "I am delighted to hear your inspiring stories and to highlight the transformative power of entrepreneurship and the tangible results achieved through the WIDU.africa project today."
Discover the WIDU Togo Awards Winners!
1st prize in agri-business: Ms. Ablavi Anika, founder of the company 'PHILAB,' for her enterprise specializing in the transformation and production of spices.
Diaspora donor: Mr. Yao Anika
Ms. Rachidatou Morou, founder of 'Bouillon Culinaire,' wins the second prize in agri-business for her natural culinary bouillon production project.
Diaspora donor: Ms. Anissa Toure
Ms. Christelle Ahite Tchotcho, founder of 'KIN'S BAR,' wins the third prize in agri-business for her agri-food project specializing in protein bar production.
Diaspora donor: Mr. Koffi Houessou Gbadoe
*YOUNG ENTREPRENEURS AWARDS*
1st prize for young entrepreneurs: Ms. Rebecca Gnan, founder of 'Africa Food and Business,' for her agri-food project specializing in packaging and marketing local rice.
Diaspora donor: Mr. Kodja Koudoh
Mr. Komlan Avognito, founder of UC Foods Togo, wins the second prize for young entrepreneurs for his enterprise specializing in the sale and delivery of food products.
Diaspora donor: Mr. Komlavi Houngbedji
Ms. Delali Aziabli, founder of 'Les Femmes du Coco,' wins the third prize for young entrepreneurs for her project specializing in the production of coconut derivatives and transformation into food products.
Diaspora donor: Mr. Michel Akakpo
*INNOVATION AWARDS (Green Entrepreneurship, ICT & Health)*
1st prize for innovation: Ms. Virginie DED Teko for her enterprise Clinique Lamese specializing in maternity care.
Diaspora donor: Mr. Eliezer Petieu
Mr. Djeri Ouro Agouda, owner of Dissinadama Farm, wins the second prize for innovation for his project focusing on the valorization of natural energy resources.
Diaspora donor: Mr. Akpo Agouda
Ms. Djalila Zakari, owner of Green Town Farm, wins the second prize for innovation for her project specializing in the valorization of cassava waste.
Diaspora donor: Mr. Arouna Moutourou
1st prize for craftsmanship: Mr. Tonou Kodjovi Dodji for his enterprise RO specializing in the production of cosmetics and detergents based on palm kernels.
Diaspora donor: Mr. Yaovi Agboyi
Ms. Delali Kossiwa Adedje, founder of Youkoumi, wins the second prize for craftsmanship for her project specializing in products based on shea butter.
Diaspora donor: Ms. Elsa Bortuzzo
Ms. Amagli Dope, founder of Rapido Couture, wins the third prize for craftsmanship for her textile-related project.
Diaspora donor: Mr. Séverin Agbagla
Following this ceremony, the participants and attending guests had the opportunity to discover local products crafted by promising young entrepreneurs who benefited from the WIDU.africa project by strolling through the exhibition fair specially set up at the entrance of Hotel Petit Brussel.
If you missed the WIDU Togo Awards ceremony, you can relive this exceptional event in its entirety through our social networks or via the following link: https://bit.ly/3Q5O14r