Small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) are the growth engines for emerging markets. Equipping the leaders of these enterprises with the right business training is key to their future growth.
Below are a few examples of our work in the field of entrepreneurship development.
The Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women Entrepreneur Certificate Program trained women across Rwanda seeking to grow their small or medium-sized business. During the six-month training program, participants created a detailed, actionable business plan. Sessions covered included: business planning, marketing, finance, accounting, and management. At the end of the program, participants participated in a business plan competition. Following the six-month training, the graduates were eligible for wraparound services and attended annual reunions. The program was organized by WDI, in cooperation with the School of Finance & Banking in Kigali. The program sponsor was Goldman Sachs. Over seven years (2008 to 2015) the program ran twelve times, equipping 330 Rwandan business women with the knowledge and skills needed to expand a successful enterprise.
Below are mini-documentaries of five of the graduates of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women Entrepreneurship Certificate Program.
Through the Economic Development Initiative under The U.S.-Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI), WDI partnered with Al Akhawayn University of Ifrane, Morocco, to provide business training to 60 Moroccan entrepreneurs from 2004 to 2006. The goal of the project was to strengthen skills among entrepreneurs and business people working for small- and medium-sized enterprises in Morocco through targeted training of business managers and direct consulting at the firm level in the areas of handicraft, tourism, electronics, agribusiness, offshoring, and textiles. The overall objective was to help entrepreneurs in Morocco benefit from its recently concluded Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the United States and provide Moroccan firms with the tools needed to grow into more competitive companies. By equipping the owners of 60 small businesses with management skills in key areas and encouraging participants to share their learning with their employees, the training was projected to impact up to 1,800 people in small businesses throughout Morocco. The project included a Small Business Training Component (featuring workshops at Al Akhawayn University), a 7-week student consulting project, and three 14-week summer consulting projects featuring students from the University of Michigan Ross School of Business. The consultant teams presented their findings to the clients and to the US Ambassador in Rabat and received appreciation for their concrete business solutions.
Since 2014, WDI has partnered with the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) and The U.S.-Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) to nurture entrepreneurship development throughout Bahrain by improving the capabilities of entrepreneurship trainers. WDI’s faculty affiliates develop training materials that incorporate leadership, critical thinking, active citizenship, ethics, and decision-making techniques. The training materials are informed by needs assessment surveys and CIPE’s Bahraini stakeholders. Also as part of this work, WDI developed an entrepreneurship instructor’s manual and leadership curriculum.
In 2016, WDI developed a new entrepreneurship curriculum for universities in Papua New Guinea (PNG) to help faculty members deliver the new instruction to students. This project, which represents the first time a WDI initiative has worked in the country, aimed to change the mindset of business school students who typically enter public service jobs or traditional professions. Its longer-term goal is helping the country nurture its small- and medium-sized business sector and diversify its economy from mineral resources. It included a needs assessment and “train-the-teacher” workshop for 35-40 faculty members and administrators. The workshop focused on how to integrate and teach entrepreneurship in various disciplines. WDI is currently revising the curriculum based on trainee feedback for delivery to the universities.
WDI partnered with Al Quds College (AQC) in Amman Jordan and Washtenaw Community College (WCC) in Michigan to implement strategies for developing an entrepreneurial mindset among Jordanian community college students, and establish a business incubator at AQC to support and assist students in launching successful businesses. The team sought to develop an educational approach that integrated the vocational and technical skills that students pursue at AQC, with business skills, practical experience, and access to a support network so they will understand how to establish, operate, and grow small businesses. A USAID project managed by Higher Education for Development.
(WDI sponsors Multidisciplinary Action Projects – MAP projects – in conjunction with the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business. MAP projects are cross-cultural student consulting projects. In WDI-sponsored projects, MBA students apply their focus to building the capacity of small and medium-sized enterprises in low- and middle-income countries. Host organizations receive top-notch deliverables and data-driven recommendations from the team of students. Described below is a recent MAP project completed in Kosovo.)
Located in the capital of Pristina, Business Support Centre Kosovo (BSCK) has leveraged many support tools to promote new venture creation by young entrepreneurs, including entrepreneurship training, funding (grant or bank loans with subsidized interest rates), and no-cost consultancy. In spring 2015, a MAP team visited Pristina to evaluate BSCK’s efforts to date to develop local entrepreneurs and promote job creation, identify which of its initiatives have been most successful in developing entrepreneurs and could be replicated in other post-conflict countries, find gaps in activities, and recommend strategies to further stimulate entrepreneurship in Kosovo. Its overall goal was to help BSCK adopt a strategy for building a sustainable model for entrepreneurship development. After the in-country assessment, the team recommended in its final report that BSCK will remain competitive and serve its entrepreneurs best by supplementing their current training offerings with additional focus on “diversity, mentorship, networking, and solvency.”
(WDI sponsors Multidisciplinary Action Projects – MAP projects – in conjunction with the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business. MAP projects are cross-cultural student consulting projects. In WDI-sponsored projects, MBA students apply their focus to building the capacity of small and medium-sized enterprises in low- and middle-income countries. Host organizations receive top-notch deliverables and data-driven recommendations from the team of students. Described below is a recent MAP project completed in India.)
WDI supported a MAP team that traveled to India to assist the Aparajitha Foundation, a community development organization based in Madurai, India. Aparajitha’s entrepreneurship development work equips local entrepreneurs with the skills needed to attain positive business results for themselves and their communities, and recognizes that businesses and entrepreneurs alike need to be developed. During their two weeks in India, the team conducted primary and secondary research focused on how Aparajitha can enable entrepreneurs to be more successful. The students conducted interviews with stakeholders and 27 entrepreneurs that helped shape their approach and recommendations. The team compiled a final report in which they developed profiles of six personas of typical Madurai entrepreneurs, identified eight areas of entrepreneur development needs, catalogued 30 modes of delivering training to meet these needs, mapped Madurai’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, and clarified Aparajitha’s entrepreneur-coaching role within this local ecosystem. Due to the team’s success, Aparajitha will host a second MAP team in 2017.
Read more here.