The Fontes Foundation Youth Centre graduation took place on Friday 9 August. 70 students graduated, after having finalized either the core course in applied business skills, the catering course, or one of the short courses in English or ICT.
These courses constitute a central part of Fontes Foundation’s activities. They take place at the Fontes Foundation Youth Centre, and target youth from the local community. The overall aims of the courses are to equip the students with both practical and soft skills, and to empower them to enter the job market or to start a small business.
Among the Ugandan youth, there is a high demand for courses offering practical skills. However, Fontes Foundation has identified that a more holistic approach is needed in order to equip the students for the future as either business owners or successful employees. The courses are responding to a dire need in Ugandan society, with every second person being below the age of 15, and a youth unemployment rate of 32.2 %.
The six-month core course in applied business skills also included classes in English, ICT, and personal development. Towards the end of the course, each student prepared a business plan. Students wishing to establish their own business could therefore develop their real-life business ideas as a part of the course, thus being able to benefit from guidance from the facilitators. In the business plans, the students developed their ideas, performed a market analysis, and examined the financial and personnel related aspects of their businesses. This has given the students a concrete starting point for the setting up of their businesses.
A variety of business plans were developed, ranging from establishing a farm to writing plays for the movie industry. Here are two examples:
A rabbit farm
The idea of establishing a rabbit farm has come to the surface through a careful examination of various aspects of the market; such as high-end restaurants and hotels that serve rabbits on their menus, schools that would like to teach their students about rabbit keeping, and people who would like to keep rabbits as pets. The student has identified that this is a growing market. He has already partnered with a friend that has experience with rabbits. Adding in his own skills learned at the course, many of the needed competencies will be covered.
A traditional Ugandan cultural troupe
One of the students is planning to start up a dance troupe that can entertain at various events, such as weddings and corporate parties. She has identified that, although the competition is fierce, most of the other dance troupes in her area are only dancing one type of dance. This dance troupe will be performing a variety of dances, and she believe they will reach out to a bigger market this way. Once they have become an established troupe, a long-term goal is to do shows that helps raise money for the needy, thus adding a layer of social responsibility to the business idea.