Ethiopian Fashion Community
The textile industry is a job engine for Ethiopia, which faces a rapidly growing population and the need to create more employment for its young population who is entering the labour market. The fashion industry promises a lot of potential but the small and local businesses with a long tradition in the country still face low wages and poor working conditions and traditional handicrafts are in danger of disappearing.
To prevent this and fight vulnerable employment, Invest for Jobs and Business Scouts for Development support the Ethiopian Fashion Community, an association of several regional entrepreneurs and international specialists in the sector with the common goal of making sustainable and local products competitive for the international market. The project aims primarily to promote small and medium-sized enterprises, raise wages, create more jobs, improve working conditions, and build an innovative fashion community in Ethiopia in the long term.
Some support is needed to enable the country's small and medium sized fashion companies – ranging from clothing to leather goods producers - to enter the international market. To this end, Invest for Jobs has established contact with international experts in the fashion industry who help local companies and their employees to acquire necessary marketing skills. The aim is to ensure high-quality and sustainable production, which can then be promoted as such.
For this purpose, the individual companies are visited by an expert with several years of experience in the field of fashion and marketing. The expert examines the status quo of branding, positioning and product strategy and makes suggestions for improvements to strengthen the company and the corporate brand. In addition, the expert supports the company in identifying international trends, selecting styles and developing winter and summer collections. Samples created in the process have already been pitched in various wholesale outlets in Europe (Germany, Austria and Switzerland) via an expert based in Germany.
The project to strengthen the Ethiopian fashion community has been running since October 2020, both physically and virtually due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Some local companies are already reporting their first successes, like Shimena Enterprise, Enzi Footwear and Kabana Leather. They report better visibility of their brands and successful business activities at the international level. The three companies were able to increase their sales even during the ongoing pandemic and now expect to expand further and increase employment in the coming years.
For more information about the companies see: Ethiopian Fashion Community.
The Ethiopian Fashion Community is supported by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH and sequa gGmbH in the context of Invest for Jobs and by Business Scouts for Development on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).
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