International Training

Enhancement of Entrepreneurship and Startup Ecosystem (B) new!
My first time as a training course leader

Jan.16th. 2023`Mar.3rd. 2023

Yukihiro MUROYA‚ Course leader

Screen shot via Zoom

My career path so far has included working for a company‚ the Kyushu branch of the Japan Federation of Economic Organizations‚ and an extra-governmental organization affiliated with Fukuoka Prefecture. I have been working for KITA since last spring‚ so this was my first time to lead a training course for participants from overseas.

This course was designed by Mr. Nakashima‚ a KITA course leader‚ and was launched in 2021. Up to and including this year‚ it has been held remotely due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. This time there were seven participants from six countries in the Middle East and Africa: The Democratic Republic of the Congo‚ Egypt‚ Ghana‚ Mozambique‚ Uganda‚ and Yemen. Most of them were government officials who provide support for companies and entrepreneurs in their respective countries. Six of them received a training completion certificate.

As someone who has experienced almost no stress in my life and work from my habitual use of computers and mobile phones‚ I was rather surprised about how tough the situation was for the participants in this remote training course in terms of the telecommunications and power supply infrastructure. Some participants had to cope with frequent power outages during a lecture‚ or with static and flickering screens due to telecommunications line problems. Each time they would have to rejoin the remote Zoom meeting and would sometimes have to switch between their computer and mobile phone and make many attempts to rejoin the meeting.

The remote training format made it unavoidable that live lectures were held from early morning to early afternoon local time in the participating countries‚ a period when the participants were very busy with their normal work duties‚ and which also cut across their lunchtime. In addition‚ they sometimes took lectures while having to deal with unexpected incidents such as a family member‚ or the participant themself‚ falling ill. Nevertheless‚ most of the participants were energetic and enthusiastic‚ and determined to absorb as much information as possible. Actually‚ I personally really loved their aggressive approach which threatened to make the lectures overrun their time slot: for example‚ they would ask many questions and express many opinions and comments during and after the lectures. In some cases‚ they would ask for the lecturerfs email address and maybe make a local sales pitch or fervently request investment. I thought it was great. I am truly grateful to the lecturers who so readily and meticulously dealt with such questions and fervent requests. There were also heartwarming moments‚ such as when the participants introduced their children or grandchildren on screen while we were chatting before a lecture.

During a live lecture‚ in addition to the situations and circumstances described above‚ there were also requests from a disabled participant and participants who are not very good at English. I consulted with the JICA officer and coordinator after the lecture and‚ as an extra‚ distributed the videos of the Zoom lectures on YouTube for a limited period‚ enabling the participants to review the material and supplement their learning. After each dayfs lecture‚ I made a point of providing the participants with information about the next lecture and the text number‚ and emailing them with detailed information about upcoming work to be submitted and about the review videos available.

This was my first time as a course leader and the range of tasks involved was overwhelming. It was time-consuming and required a lot of careful attention‚ but I was thanked by the participants in person after the action plan presentations and later in emails. Their messages of gratitude included the following comments: gThis was a once in a lifetime experience that was of tremendous value to me‚ and one that I shall never forget‚h gThank you for steadfastly listening to and answering everyonefs questions impartially‚h gI will make good use of it in my work going forward‚h and gI want to take JICAfs advanced course next.h I too am grateful and deeply moved!