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How JA’s public Private Partnership is adding value to youth economic empowerment in Gabon

For Startups in Gabon, just finding affordable space to run a business can be a challenge. Until the recent creation of the “Espace PME”, there was no operational work space for new companies in Gabon.  The SME space fills that gap. Operated by JA Gabon in partnership with the Government of Gabon the space is an incubator for entrepreneurs to grow and develop their businesses. It is an open space for all small and medium-sized businesses in Gabon and for all Gabonese without any age limit.

This partnership between JA Gabon and the Government of Gabon falls under the government’s efforts to diversify its economy on the basis of the three priority pillars defined by “Emerging Gabon.” They are:

  1. Green Gabon: Highlighting environment, eco-tourism and wood.
  2. Industrial Gabon: Stressing the promotion of local development of high value raw materials and export products.
  3. Gabon Services: Focusing on the development of the workforce by training Gabonese in line with market demand.

 

The workspace targets entrepreneurs from across the capital city of Libreville and beyond. It is also for Gabonese entrepreneurs from abroad who need a professional and friendly place to work during their stay in Libreville. Additionally, craftsmen under the associations or cooperatives of Libreville or provinces that come to the capital for a short time are also welcome to utilize the workspace.

Espace PME is designed to create a motivating and exciting workplace for entrepreneurs, enable young entrepreneurs to obtain reliable information about the business world in general and provide economic operators with a space with an internet connection and a range of tailor-made training programs. It also enables young entrepreneurs to develop their network of relationships and clients, obtain ongoing training and exchange and compare their ideas in an enabling environment.

While entrepreneurs are assisted to grow and develop, Espace PME also plays a significant role in Gabon’s economy as it seeks to strengthen the managerial capacities of the economic fabric of Gabon, enables companies to find new business opportunities, supports entrepreneurs to grow and structure, create a space for exchanges and meetings between companies and decision-makers and assist entrepreneurs to move from the informal to the formal sector.

Once a month, business/finance experts mentor and coach the entrepreneurs. These include members of government, business owners or business leaders from the private sector. This friendly meeting brings experienced professionals closer to the youth and facilitates the exchange of experience. The SME Space is also a platform of foreign opportunities for the enterprising Gabonese.

On a monthly basis, it organizes ‘speed-dating’ sessions to connect donors, bankers and angel investors with entrepreneurs.  The SME space provides entrepreneurs with multiple facilities such as meeting rooms, equipped training rooms, co-working rooms, High-speed internet connection and a cafeteria.

The space was built and fully equipped by the Government of Gabon and its management entrusted to the care of JA Gabon. Companies in the private sector underwrite some of the costs of operation, as they extract certain benefits from it. The government measures the success of the space according to three key metrics: the number of SMEs created (from both the informal and formal sector), the number of TPEs trained and the number of people recruited from member companies.

Services rendered to entrepreneurs are shared between various organizations such as the Chamber of Commerce, the Authorized Management Center and the ANPI. In order to access the workspace, users must be Gabonese or own a business in Gabon.

 

About JA Gabon

JA Gabon belongs to the JA Worldwide global network with members in over 120 countries organized in six regions (USA, South America, Europe, Asia / Pacific, Mena, Africa). One of the strengths of this network is its ability to share and exchange best practices and experiences. Since October 2014, JA Gabon has managed the national incubator and organizes the Grand Prix of Excellence every two years, on the initiative of the Head of State. In 2015-2016, JA Gabon trained more than 3,000 young Gabonese in work-readiness, financial education and entrepreneurship.

For more information:

JA Gabon – incubateur national, Situé à Likouala, Libreville, Gabon www.jagabon.org

www.espacepme.org

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