Strengthening Entrepreneurship Training
The Sokoine University Graduate Entrepreneurs Cooperative (SUGECO) is an organization that guides graduates from institutions of higher learning towards self-employment, agribusiness development and job creation. SUGECO’s mission is to prepare, enable, and support knowledge-intensive, innovative entrepreneurs as they build successful businesses along agricultural and agribusiness value chains throughout Tanzania.
Through its support of SUGECO, iAGRI is helping increase connections between SUA and the private sector. Initial support focused on strategic planning, with iAGRI assisting SUGECO as it outlined a framework to guide its growth. More recently, activities have focused on broad administrative support for implementation of the strategic framework.
In October 2014, iAGRI began funding a full-time Executive Director to provide SUGECO with the administrative capacity to implement their strategic framework. The Executive Director will be funded by iAGRI for one year, during which time SUGECO will work towards a number of specific objectives it identified as priorities. These objectives include constituting and training the SUGECO Board of Directors, expanding SUGECO membership, securing new partnerships with public and private sector organizations, and providing entrepreneurship training to SUA graduates and others.
Key Actors at SUA
SUGECO is an independent cooperative organization that originated from SUA’s Department of Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness (DAEA), whose academic staff form the core of SUGECO’s leadership.
Program Support Manager
Start date of the first
‘Conversation that Matters’:
Stage 1 – Conversations That Matter
iAGRI and agreed to work with SUGECO in early 2013 to build its institutional capacity. SUGECO agreed to undertake a strategic planning process with support from iAGRI staff. A discussion between SUGECO and iAGRI determined that the objectives of the search would be to refine and document SUGECO’s strategy, including a revised mission and vision and a plan for generating revenue.
Stage 2 – Ways That Work
The strategic planning process was organized and initiated in the first half of 2013, and it was completed in 2014. Based on this process, iAGRI helped SUGECO draft a strategic framework. iAGRI and SUGECO, through extensive discussion, determined that the main challenge to implementing the strategic framework would be lack of professional staff and a need to constitute the Board of Directors. Having identified administrative capacity as a challenge, iAGRI agreed to fund staff for SUGECO as an experiment, and a proposal was written to document the procedure for the experiment and intended activities.
Stage 3 -Changes That Sustain
The findings from the strategic planning process were formalized into SUGECO policy when the organization adopted the draft strategic framework. SUGECO then hired an Executive Director, formalized organizational policies, and constituted the Board of Directors for the first time. Performance standards were identified in the proposal to iAGRI, and the Executive Director writes a quarterly report that documents progress towards those performance standards.