WITH: Boosting Women Entrepreneurship Education in Tourism and Hospitality in Sub-Saharan Africa, co-funded by the European Union, is a project implemented by a consortium of African and European organisations: AWIEF (South Africa); Seville Official Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Services and Navigation (Spain); INCOMA (Spain); CESIE (Italy); Equip Consulting Group (Malawi); and Gift Women Link Foundation (Uganda).
WITH is a two-year initiative that aims to skill and empower a new generation of climate and sustainability conscious women intrapreneurs, entrepreneurs and business owners to succeed in the tourism and hospitality industry in Sub-Saharan Africa.
During August and September 2023, the three African partner organizations conducted stakeholder identification and engagement aimed at gathering insight and input from key stakeholders in the tourism and hospitality sector in their respective Sub-Saharan African countries (South Africa, Malawi, Uganda).
This task involved carrying out consultations to a wide group of valuable project stakeholders in the afore-mentioned three countries, including 13 public and private institutions active in vocational education and training (VET) and in the labour market, 19 women entrepreneurs/business owners, 5 associations/industry players, and policymakers in the field of tourism and hospitality. The aim of the consultations was to find needs of knowledge, skills, values, and attitudes applied to the context of tourism and hospitality, to empower young women in Sub-Saharan African countries to succeed as intrapreneurs, entrepreneurs and business owners in these sectors.
The stakeholders’ consultations were carried out through comprehensive surveys, and via in-person visits to the selected VET institutions and businesses. The process was divided in three steps:
- Selection of the most relevant soft skills needed for young women to succeed as entrepreneurs in tourism and hospitality.
- Identification of learning outcomes for the chosen soft skills.
- A small set of open questions related to the needs of skills and values to empower aspiring women entrepreneurs in tourism and hospitality.
A total of 37 interviews were conducted in the three countries, and the results achieved were more than the expected and required. The following main conclusions and needs were identified:
- Training in business and technical skills
- Financial literacy (fintech, loan and grant management)
- Netiquette and digital skills (marketing online, online presence and social media)
- Crucial need for practical activities than theoretical training
- Access to finance and relevant markets
- Work-life balance importance for young women
- Mentoring and coaching
- VET trainers in need for greater exposure to the industry
- Sustainability concept applied to tourism and hospitality
- Risk and conflict management (team building)
- Access to the relevant information in each country to run a sustainable business
- Upgraded knowledge for the trainers and trainees.
We anticipate that our findings will be instrumental as we proceed to develop the WITH Competence Framework and the training pathway structure that will contribute towards empowering and equipping young women with soft and entrepreneurial skills for success in tourism and hospitality.