In 2011 USIU-Africa and its consortium partners Michigan state university (MSU) and the Global business school Network (GBSN) received an 18 month grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to support the development and delivery of training leading to a Certificate Program in Management and Innovation for Agribusiness Entrepreneurs(CMIAE). The training aims at improving management and leadership capacity of the small scale agribusiness entrepreneurs. It trains the agribusiness entrepreneurs on analytical tools, market oriented skills and information to increase the quality and productivity of the agricultural sector. The long term impact of this program is to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the agribusiness entrepreneurs, thereby, positively impacting on the various players along the value chain.

Since its launch in 2011, the program has developed curricula, training materials for 14 modules, 8 core modules and 6 Agribusiness concentration modules. Further, 12 agribusiness teaching case studies have been developed for each of these modules.

These materials are shared open source through OER platform at http://www.oerafrica.org/agricultureoer/AgricultureResources/ResultsPage/tabid/1784/mctl/Details/id/38891/Default.aspx and our USIU-Africa online portal www.usiu.ac.ke/agribusiness. The fact that these materials are readily available presents an opportunity for institutions in Africa to offer similar training in in the region and across Africa.

Thus far, through this program over 200 agribusiness entrepreneurs (i.e. 50% women and 50% men) drawn from across East Africa have successfully undertaken this training. The fifth Cohort of trainees completed their course in April 2015 and currently the sixth Cohort is ongoing and the graduation of Cohort 5 and 6 will be in November 2015.

The uniqueness of this program lies on its focus on small scale agribusiness entrepreneurs, who have been largely left out by established public and private training institutions. The certificate program will address deficiencies in training currently available, which are typically programs mounted by business schools and directed toward the needs of medium and large-scale enterprise. By building leadership and management skills of agribusiness entrepreneurs, the program will facilitate an environment that makes the agricultural sector more effective in improving the lives and livelihoods of small-scale agribusiness entrepreneurs.

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