Entrepreneurs from Benin learn digital marketing skills

31 January 2024
ITC News

Over two months, 676 Beninese start-ups and companies learned how to develop their web presence and acquire new customers online.

A digital adventure from the north to the south of Benin

TikTok, Canva, Facebook, Whatsapp Business and Google My Business hold no more secrets for them. With the BeniBiz training programme, they forged a digital marketing culture and gained a better understanding of the web’s economic opportunities.

In all, 676 beneficiaries – mostly promoters of agro-industrial micro-businesses – acquired strategic and practical skills in digital marketing.

One of the trainers, Melvine Koumagnon, travelled all over northern Benin to train entrepreneurs from rural areas.

‘We know that it's not easy to grow a business when you live far from the nerve centre of Cotonou. But with the web, social networks and artificial intelligence tools, entrepreneurs have access to new opportunities for growth,’ she said. ‘Borders are abolished, and the chance is given to develop one's brand, one's visibility and one's clientele.’

Combining training and coaching sessions, the programme demonstrated that entrepreneurship in Benin is a feminine art. In fact, 56% of participants were women, which comes as no surprise to Melvine.

‘Beninese women are very active in buying, selling and processing agri-food products. I'm delighted that this type of training can benefit a mixed community of entrepreneurs, all driven by the desire to see their project succeed.’

Technoserve Benin organized the training, as part of the BeniBiz project, funded by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation in Benin. To increase its scope and pool resources, this training course was also supported by the NTF V FastTrackTech Project.

Making digital a springboard to success

Just three months after the training course, 522 beneficiaries, including 290 women, have seen the first benefits. Some entrepreneurs have already acquired new customers and increased their sales, after listing their company on Google My Business.

For Fernando Sessou, founder of the start-up English for Busy People, the training broadened his horizons.

‘Before the training, I rarely went on Facebook. Now I've precisely identified my customer profile and have a well-structured editorial strategy,’ he said. ‘With my team, I have formalized an editorial line and a publication schedule. We focus on useful content that entertains and makes daily life easier for our web users. Since then, our engagement rate has clearly increased.’

More traffic to the site, more subscribers to the page and more participative users: that's what Fernando achieved by taking care of his content marketing and brand image. Good at using Canva, the young executive is now taking on TikTok, with a series of videos he plans to launch as early as 2024.

‘For me, it's all about reaching out to customers where they are. This training has given me the means to take control of the digital tools that will bring me closer to my goal!’


About the project

The Netherlands Trust Fund V (NTF) programme (July 2021 – June 2025) is based on a partnership between the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the International Trade Centre. NTF V supports SMEs in the digital technology and agribusiness sectors in Benin, Côte d'Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, Mali, Senegal and Uganda. Its ambition is to contribute to an inclusive and sustainable transformation of agri-food systems partly through digital solutions, to improve the international competitiveness of local tech start-ups and to support the implementation of the export strategy of IT&BPO companies.