Best discovery I made during the [COVID-19] lockdown. Practical and relevant lessons that I've used in training SMEs and improving my knowledge. Thank you, SME Trade Academy
My e-learning experience was fantastic. The platform is simple to operate and well integrated. The downloadable resources and links are a great way to support online studies and the “forum task” sessions allow participants to interact with candidates from various countries and diverse cultural backgrounds. I must say, this is the best form of networking.
Looking back at my extensive learning experience with the SME Trade Academy, I believe that I was able to attain different goals with the different courses taken. In certain cases, the courses allowed me to deepen my understanding of topics of relevance to current WTO negotiations. An example of this is the course on “E-Commerce for SMEs” that is oriented toward policymakers. In other cases, the online learning opportunities allowed me to develop and strengthen the skills and competencies directly relevant to my daily work. For instance, I was able to reinforce my knowledge of how to use trade databases and analytical tools for market research purposes.
I have obtained close to 30 certificates and taken over 40 courses. I am not planning to stop learning anytime soon. I still have courses to take, even now, and I still hope to see even more courses on entrepreneurship to better equip women entrepreneurs.
Today, I am back to working as an entrepreneur. The company that I have founded, Nyalore Impact, promotes clean cooking solutions such as stoves and fuel to customers who cannot afford LPG (liquefied petroleum gas), ethanol gel, etc.
ITC's E-Learning courses are very helpful for people in developing countries. They help us gain awareness of developed countries' requirements for imports, as well as the kind of quality and quantity they need.
The reason why I need to learn is that I need to contribute to my country by helping to develop the SME sector. Like many developing countries, Myanmar is still struggling to move forward, and the SME sector could be the essential part of our country's economic engine. As a development practitioner, I have to internalize trade-related skills and knowledge in order to teach and share them with local stakeholders, mainly market players who play major roles in their different sectors.
The SME Trade Academy is an e-learning programme that I would recommend to any thoughtful trade professional, exporting SME and the organized private sector (OPS) in developing and least developed countries. The courses which I took are a compendium of those topics that any staff member working in Trade Support Institutions (TSIs)/Trade Promotion Organizations (TPOs) as well as Foreign Trade Representatives (FTR) should master. I simply cannot thank the team enough for this wonderful initiative, and I am convinced that it will go a long way towards impacting the trade skills in developing and least developed countries. All of the course notes and case studies are very useful reference materials for research work.
The course outlines and their contents were easy to understand. The lectures, the videos and the exercises made it easy to grasp the lessons since they were very practical. I loved the fact that it was possible to download the lecture contents in a simple and safe manner, as it means that I will be able to easily refer to them in the future. I would highly recommend the SME Trade Academy to anyone working with SMEs, as well as to SMEs themselves!
I feel that the courses offered by the SME Trade Academy are of great importance in two ways. First, they are an excellent resource, not just for SMEs planning or starting their export or international business activities, but also for other actors in the value chain, such as suppliers, trade promotion institutions, trade representatives, the diaspora, TSIs, trade finance institutions, etc. Second, they are very useful for professionals trying to begin their career, or already working in international trade, SME business development, trade and market-related consultancy, as well as research and advisory support services.
With the knowledge that I obtained from the "Helping SMEs Generate Export Business" course, I successfully introduced several school outreach programmes in Zimbabwe, which contributed to a 5% increase in sales contribution for the 3 months ending in September 2014. Furthermore, the "Engaging with the Diaspora for Trade" course motivated me to pursue a market assessment of the Zimbabwean diaspora through the Venecom Marketing trade and export portfolio. Once it is completed, this assessment will identify market opportunities for Zimbabwean SMEs to diversify internationally, with the aim of increasing export opportunities for these companies.