Capacity building plays a key role in FoodAfrica II. In October 2016, the programme organized training sessions at two large-scale conferences in Africa, both with a high number of students and youth among the participants.
The training sessions organised at the AAIN and RUFORUM conferences was meant to provide new tools and ideas about using research results to create innovative business ideas. Eija Laitinen from FoodAfrica partner HAMK gave an introductory session on linking research, education and business by presenting HAMK’s innovative entrepreneurship programme, examples of student driven projects and how African universities and students could adopt the methods.
FoodAfrica Programme coordinator Mila Sell presented some of the key results that have come out of FoodAfrica during the research phase. Using the new ideas and information the participants in the session, who represented students, but also university lecturers and professors as well as entrepreneurs, brain-stormed in groups to come up with potential ways of turning FoodAfrica results into entrepreneurial initiatives. At the end of the session each group introduced their idea in a short pitch and the winner was awarded with Finnish sweet treats.
However, an important part of FoodAfrica II will be to identify actual links to entrepreneurs and businesses that can help turn the most useful results into products and scale them out to reach the endusers – consumers and farmers – for whom they have the potential to make the most impact in terms of food production, security and safety. During FoodAfrica II several additional trainings for key stakeholders are therefore planned.