Addis Ababa – In August 2022, over 800 recently reintegrated returnees and potential migrants from Ethiopia’s Orima Regional State and Addis Ababa City Administration received business and life skills training to help them successfully run their enterprises. 

The business coaching sessions targeted migrants who are either running their businesses individually or in partnerships.

The trainings were also aimed at enhancing their image and personal development. 

The trainings were organized under the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration through a strategic partnership with First Consult’s BRIDGES Programme with funding from Mastercard Foundation. 

BRIDGES is part of MasterCard’s ‘Young Africa Works’ programme, working to help millions of young people find a pathway out of poverty using youth employment as a measure of progress.

Nine private training service providers are on board with First Consult, a leading development consulting firm dedicated to private sector development in Ethiopia. 

According to the Joint Initiative’s monitoring findings, a quarter of returnees’ businesses struggle to thrive in the first few months of their establishment due to inexperience, management gaps, limited or lack of access to finance and weak market linkages. The migrants running these enterprises face low self-esteem, lack of aspiration, social stigma, and psychosocial challenges.  

Tesfaye Inkure is one of the beneficiaries of the training programme. He has a boat riding business and provides other entertainment activities around Gibe Dam. 

“When we started, we had no formal business training. We were learning through trial and error. These trainings have given us relevant skills on how to improve our business and customers’ experience,” he said. 
Majority of the returnees are engaged in community-based projects implemented under the Joint Initiative including fish farming, childcare services, plastic recycling, and compost production. 

On 22 July, the service providers who conducted the trainings came together at a workshop to share information about the returnees’ demographics, their social, economic, and psychosocial needs, data protection and sharing protocols and visibility requirements, as well as IOM’s reporting tools. Coordination schemes, harmonizing training syllabus and outcome assessment tools were also discussed.  

 “Migrants choose to move abroad irregularly despite the hardships because they believe there are no opportunities here at home. That motivation can be harnessed positively by helping them thrive in their own communities. It is up to us to help them,” said one of the trainers. 

The service providers were also received guidelines about working with vulnerable migrants who might have mental and psycho-social needs. They were also sensitised on partners’ reporting and referral mechanisms. 
There are plans for subsequent rounds of tailored trainings with First Consult in collaboration with regional governments for returnees from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) on building employability skills, introducing local business coaching schemes, Business to Business (B2B) network initiatives and access to finance. The trainings will also be extended to cooperative societies established under JI’s community projects. 
About the EU-IOM Joint Initiative   
Launched in December 2016 with the support of the European Union Emergency Trust Fund for Africa (EUTF), the programme brings together 26 African countries of the Sahel and Lake Chad region, the Horn of Africa, and North Africa, along with the European Union and the International Organization for Migration, around the goal of ensuring that migration is safer, more informed and better governed for both migrants and their communities.  
For more information, please contact Helina Mengistu, email: or Adam Sahilu, email: