Started a training and empowerment center for women in the beauty industry

Like many Ethiopians, Bikyalech Ermias moved from a small village to the city in search of a better future. She received training as a hair stylist at a vocational college and found a part-time job at a beauty salon in Arba Minch.

While she enjoyed her job, Bikyalech’s entire outlook changed when she attended a DOT leadership program. As part of the program, she learned business and digital skills, identified community needs, and thought about how to solve them. It was during this process of looking for opportunities around her that Bikyalech identified the perfect opportunity: opening a training center to help women like her start businesses in the beauty industry.

Putting her new entrepreneurship skills to work, Bikyalech developed a business plan to open a hairstyling and makeup training center. Drawing on DOT’s networks and coaching, she opened the Bikyalech Training Centre in 2014.

“I have faced a lot of challenges along the way, but I was strong and knew I had DOT behind me,” says Bikyalech. “I took the opportunities around me and used my network to chase my dreams.”

Bikyalech is the first woman to own such a training center in Arba Minch. More than 80 women have enrolled in her programs, taking the first step to launching their own businesses and changing their own lives.

Wanting to offer the women at her training center as many opportunities as possible, Bikyalech partnered with DOT to provide her trainees the same entrepreneurship and digital skills training she herself received. Nearly 50 of her trainees have attended DOT leadership programs, developing their skills and deepening their knowledge, networks, and investment in their ideas.

Bikyalech continues to improve her own skills. While her business primarily relies on word of mouth, DOT is equipping her with the skills to create a website and a Facebook page to reach a wider audience.

Bikyalech is investing in the future of her business, and is eager to reach more women. While she currently rents the space for the training centre, she is looking to buy a plot of land to establish a home for her centre that is truly hers. She also plans to open a second training centre in another town near Arba Minch.

As Bikaylech has learned, supporting other women to create opportunities for themselves is just as satisfying as helping a customer look and feel like their best selves. Thanks to her desire to do good in her community, her vision and her drive, many women have a fresh new outlook on how they can create their own opportunities.

I have faced a lot of challenges along the way, but I was strong and knew I had DOT behind me

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