The World Bank’s Agribusiness Entrepreneurship Program supports the growth of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the agribusiness sector. In Tanzania, the program is establishing a new Agribusiness Entrepreneurship Center (AEC) that will provide local companies with access to finance market connections, as well as technical assistance in areas such as production, financial management, and marketing.
The design process for an AEC usually extends over a 3-4 month period. The establishment period that follows includes finding an institutional home, developing governance structures, recruiting key staff, and developing key processes for the institution to run properly. There tends to be a lag between the design phase and the launch of the AEC.
In Tanzania, we decided to use this period to pilot an action-learning program (ALP). The purpose of the pilot was to: i) maintain interest and momentum in the program through the establishment period; ii) gather insights from beneficiaries to help fine-tune the target client profile, the AEC service offering, business model, and staffing