Another goal is to encourage networking between young Malian entrepreneurs by creating an environment to exchange experiences. Indeed, there is a need to network for FACEJ entrepreneurs, especially for start-ups which are generally confronted with several constraints such as a lack of visibility, experience and confidence in developing their business.
Frère Agaïcha Yattara is the promoter of the cosmetics and wellness company "Agaïcha Cosmetics et Bien Être", specialised in producing and marketing cosmetic products and food supplements based on local raw ingredients. She is one of the first entrepreneurs supported by the project.
Already very active in networking with other women entrepreneurs in Mali, Agaïcha together with 20 other young entrepreneurs launched the newly created shop "L'Univers du Made in Mali" in January 2021.
The initiative took shape a little over a year ago. As an active member of many Malian women entrepreneurs' networks, Agaïcha quickly realised that they all faced more or less the same difficulties. She then decided to create a WhatsApp group for female leaders in order to exchange and share their difficulties, solutions and proposals. It was during these exchanges that the idea of the "Universe of Made in Mali" became a reality.
In January 2021, the "Universe of Made in Mali" opened its doors in the "Cité UNICEF" district in Bamako. The shop was created by an all-female association made up of 21 young Malian women entrepreneurs, ten of whom are also supported by the FACEJ project. Together, these young entrepreneurs decided to join forces and share their values and difficulties.
The aim of this shop is twofold: to promote both local Malian products and young entrepreneurs. For Agaïcha, encouraging Malian customers to consume local products is essential; an awareness that was particularly noticeable during the Covid-19 pandemic and the closure of borders. The period was particularly difficult for local entrepreneurs, who experienced a lack of supplies of raw materials and packaging.
For Agaïcha, Malian consumers attach great importance to the appearance and presentation of products. Inside the shop, particular care has been taken in product presentation: the shop is arranged in such a way that all products and business areas are highlighted.
The FACEJ project also supports ten women entrepreneurs associated with this shop. According to Agaïcha, this support has had a great impact on the quality of the products and on business management. During the networking sessions organised by the project team, the young women also realised the importance and benefits of networking.
Thanks to this union, the entrepreneurs of "L'Univers Made in Mali" now have a larger clientele as they benefit from each other's networks; they learn, exchange and share their skills and knowledge every day.
In the future, the entrepreneurs want to welcome more 100% Malian products from all sectors and open shops in all the regional capitals of Mali: "We are already planning a 100% Made in Mali supermarket chain."