iLab Liberia, in collaboration with the Ministry of Commerce, hosted a four-day training for small business entrepreneurs.
The training ran from February 13th to 16th, and brought together twelve participants from diverse businesses, covering the following topics:
Day-1: Created Gmail accounts for business transactions with lessons in email etiquette, as well as how to write professional work-related emails.
Day-2: Introduction to navigating the internet and how to use search engines for researching one’s business needs.
Day-3: Created a Facebook business page for marketing and advertisement purposes.
Day-4: Created Google spreadsheet to manage and track finances, then export to Excel or Open Office.
The participants took a final test on the last day, and certificates were awarded. For those who made below a 70% on the exam but participated fully in the course, a “certificate for participation” was awarded; participants who scored a 70% or higher received certificates for “completion and outstanding achievement.”
Since participants are certificated at the end of every training, we have resolved to accompany every training with a final exam to determine what level of certification participants receive.
Prior to this training, many of the participants lacked the necessary skills in computing their business management and so the training served as a boost to enhance their ability to effectively transact businesses using computers and the requisite online tools.
To date, iLab has not conducted evaluations of potential participants before a training. However, we have noticed in recent trainings that some participants do not possess the requisite skills needed to benefit from the training; although most of our trainings start at the beginner level, some participants have never before used a computer or opened a web browser. To tackle this problem, we will implement a pre-test for those who register for upcoming trainings.
The Small Business training afforded participants to learn ways they can advertise their businesses online and further use the internet to connect to Suppliers, Competitors and Customers in a more secure way.
With the growing number of interests in our trainings and participant obtaining jobs solely from what they learned from ilab, it is evident that our services to the public is breeding the tech community in Liberia in a positive way.
Lesson Learn moving forward
We have realized that computing training is needed in almost every section of the Liberian society, while it is true that we have been offering free trainings for the public, it is evident that specific training for targeted groups that applies directly to their career is needed. With the success of the small business Intro-level training, we are confident of looking forward to more customized courses for diverse disciplines.