WITH: Stimulating entrepreneurship education for women in tourism and hospitality in sub-Saharan Africa, co-financed by the European Union, is a project implemented by a consortium of African and European organizations: AWIEF (South Africa). South) ; Official Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Services and Navigation of Seville (Spain); INCOMA (Spain); CESIE (Italy); Equip Consulting Group (Malawi); and Gift Women Link Foundation (Uganda).
WITH is a two-year initiative that aims to train and empower a new generation of climate- and sustainability-minded women intrapreneurs, entrepreneurs and business owners to succeed in the tourism and hospitality industry in sub-Saharan Africa .
In August and September 2023, the three African partner organizations carried out stakeholder identification and engagement aimed at gathering information and input from key stakeholders in the tourism and hospitality sector in their respective countries from sub-Saharan Africa (South Africa, Malawi, Uganda).
This task involved carrying out consultations with a broad group of valuable project stakeholders in the three countries mentioned above, including 13 public and private institutions active in vocational education and training (VET) and the market of work, 19 women entrepreneurs/business owners, 5 associative/industrial actors and political decision-makers in the field of tourism and hospitality. The objective of the consultations was to determine the needs for knowledge, skills, values and attitudes applied to the tourism and hospitality context, in order to enable young women in sub-Saharan African countries to succeed as intrapreneurs, entrepreneurs and business owners in these sectors.
Stakeholder consultations were carried out through in-depth surveys and in-person visits to selected VET institutions and companies. The process was divided into three stages:
- Selection of the most relevant soft skills needed by young women to succeed as entrepreneurs in tourism and hospitality.
- Identification of learning outcomes for the chosen soft skills.
- A small set of open-ended questions related to skills and values needs to empower aspiring women entrepreneurs in tourism and hospitality.
A total of 37 interviews were conducted in the three countries and the results obtained exceeded expectations and requirements. The following main findings and needs were identified:
- Business and technical skills training
- Financial literacy (fintech, loan and grant management)
- Netiquette and digital skills (online marketing, online presence and social media)
- Crucial need for practical activities rather than theoretical training
- Access to financing and relevant markets
- The importance of work-life balance for young women
- Mentoring and coaching
- VET trainers need more industry exposure
- Sustainability concept applied to tourism and hospitality
- Risk and conflict management (team building)
- Access to relevant information in each country to run a sustainable business
- Improved knowledge for trainers and trainees.
We anticipate that our findings will be instrumental in the development of the WITH skills framework and training pathway structure that will help empower and equip young women with soft and entrepreneurial skills to succeed in tourism and hospitality.