WDI Launches Entrepreneurship Development Center

A WDI training session as part of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women initiative.

A WDI training session as part of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women initiative.


WDI’s Education Initiative is launching the Entrepreneurship Development Center for Emerging Markets (EDC), harnessing 15 years of experience helping entrepreneurs in emerging markets grow their ventures through education, training and consulting.

The new center will strengthen WDI’s long-established commitment to delivering top-notch entrepreneurship education and also highlight expanded offerings and services available to potential partners. The EDC also features a robust resource center of articles, blog posts, case studies, and learning tools.

Also making its debut along with the EDC is the Education Initiative’s proprietary 6M Entrepreneurship Development Model which outlines the six “M’s” — mindset, markets, money, mechanisms, management, mentorship — that WDI uses to design and deliver entrepreneurship education. WDI combines the latest, best practices with innovative pedagogy and learning tools, and then works with regional experts in emerging markets to localize content. The result is a program that is globally applicable and culturally relevant to the partner.  

Amy Gillett, vice president of the Education Initiative, said the EDC’s launch is very timely.

Emerging market countries around the globe are looking for ways to grow and diversify their economies,” she said. “Many of these countries also suffer from high unemployment. We believe entrepreneurship is an effective solution. However, to succeed, entrepreneurs need the proper training, support, and resources and the countries need to create effective ecosystems. The EDC is set up to support these needs.”

For the past 15 years, WDI’s Education Initiative has delivered entrepreneurship training programs in Africa, the Middle East, Southeast Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, and Latin America to owners and managers of small- and medium-sized enterprises.

For example, WDI trained more than 100 entrepreneurs from throughout Morocco under a grant from the U.S. State Department. As part of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women initiative, WDI successfully trained 330 women entrepreneurs in Rwanda.

And WDI demonstrated its thought leadership on entrepreneurship education when it convened academics and practitioners at the University of Michigan for the 2011 “Global Summit on Educating Entrepreneurs,” a global conference on how to plan, deliver, and assess world-class entrepreneurship training programs in emerging markets.

Learn more about the Education Initiative in the video below.



Gillett said the Education Initiative’s long history of aiding entrepreneurs makes WDI uniquely qualified to offer successful and rewarding entrepreneurship programs.

“After successfully training hundreds of entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship instructors over the past two decades, we are well-positioned to serve this role,” Gillett said. “We are excited to launch the Entrepreneurship Development Center and expand our entrepreneurship development efforts.”


WDI Faculty Affiliate John Branch teaches a marketing module during the 2016 Strategic Management Program in Latvia.

WDI Faculty Affiliate John Branch teaches a marketing module during the 2016 Strategic Management Program in Latvia.


Soon after Robert M. Teeter’s death in 2004, the WDI Board of Directors established a scholarship program in his honor to allow owners and managers of small- and medium-sized enterprises in emerging economies to attend the Institute’s professional education programs for free. Teeter was an advisor to several U.S. presidents and a former WDI board member.

Each year, 20 scholarships are handed out to worthy recipients. Recently, WDI’s Education Initiative spoke with four who attended WDI programs in 2016 to see how they and their organizations were impacted by the sessions. Three attended WDI’s 10-day Strategic Management Program (SMP), and one participated in an inaugural program on Strategic Thinking. Both programs were held at the Stockholm School of Economics in Riga, a longtime partner of WDI Education.

Read the full article and profiles of the four participants here.

Dovilė Pranckevičienė of Lithuania is the co-founder and director of a foreign language training school. “My knowledge was very narrow,” she said. Attending the SMP “was really an eye-opener for me, one who had no background in business management.” She said she “gained a lot of knowledge in a short period of time.”

Aleksandrs Lescinskis has his own law firm in Latvia and also manages a Judo studio and a sports association. He liked the SMP’s condensed timeframe and collaborative atmosphere.

“During a short period of time – two weeks, four modules – you can share your existing experience with professors and colleagues, looking at the same things from different angles, broadening your perspective,” he said. “We are working in different areas, but during this course we can find similar things to discuss, to share. I had to a chance to find out new things, to have new colleagues, new professors, to have communication. All things will help me in the future to go further.”

Santa Krastiņa of Latvia attended WDI’s first Strategic Thinking program. As a leader of an environmental NGO, Krastiņa said she immediately put to work what she learned. Krastiņa shared her training with her colleagues at her organization, and expects their new knowledge to positively impact how they work with partners and how they approach new markets.

“We have a lot to think through about our future – how we will fund ourselves, how we will survive,” she said.

Krastiņais is optimistic the training she received from WDI will help her organization accomplish great things.

“I got new knowledge to put into practice [with] my co-workers,” she said. “Together, we will find a solution.”


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