Artisan enterprises wishing to enter the US market can be daunted by the risks and requirements, from modifying design and production processes to understanding US standards and export regulations. Where to begin?
Bhavana set out to answer that question for artisans and entrepreneurs from East Africa through USAID-sponsored business management trainings. Under our Market Based Skills Training service, we ran a series of workshops in Tanzania, Ethiopia, Uganda, Mauritius, Madagascar, Kenya and Rwanda for over 200 artisans and entrepreneurs in the home décor and fashion sectors. Businesses operating in these sectors can benefit from the African Growth Opportunity Act, a preferential trade agreement between the US and eligible African countries. US markets are competitive, though, and becoming export-ready is a complicated endeavor.
To help participating businesses benefit from this trade agreement, we developed a curriculum of practical guidelines for engaging with US markets and a sector-specific export training manual. The training provided comprehensive coverage of what a business needs to know to both design and manufacture a product for export to the US, and to successfully navigate contract compliance and export logistics.
We delivered this training both within larger workshops covering a range of AGOA-eligible sectors, and within sessions exclusively for home décor and fashion accessories. Following the group training sessions, Bhavana held one-on-one product evaluations to give businesses the opportunity for individual consultation on strengths, weaknesses and overall market-readiness.
Over 200 businesses from seven countries are able to assess their current designs and business practices with an export lens. They have the necessary tools and knowledge to serve US market requirements, increase internal operational efficiencies and ultimately benefit from AGOA.
For this initiative Bhavana World Project partnered with Development Alternatives Inc.