WDI managed the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women Entrepreneur Certificate Program in Rwanda, equipping 330 women entrepreneurs with the knowledge and skills needed to expand their enterprises. In cooperation with the School of Finance & Banking in Kigali, the program was offered 12 times from 2008 to 2015. During the six-month certificate program, participants created a detailed, actionable business plan. Sessions included: business planning, marketing, finance, accounting, and management. The program concluded with a business plan competition. Graduates were eligible for wraparound services and attended annual reunions.
Here are mini-documentaries featuring five of the program graduates.
Since 2017, WDI has been a member of the LIFE Project consortium led by the Center for International Private Enterprise. The project aims to develop sustainable livelihoods in the food sector for Syrian refugees, other refugees and their host communities in Turkey. An incubator model is used to offer a four-month incubation program to entrepreneurs at Food Enterprise Centers (FECs), based in Istanbul and Mersin. The FECs also offer kitchen space and business support services. As part of the project’s goal to promote social cohesion across cultures, the FECs offer gastrodiplomacy experiences. The project will publish a cookbook featuring recipes from members. At the end of project’s second year, the program will have 240 graduates.
WDI’s key role is to lead design and development of the curriculum for the entrepreneurship incubation program, conduct workshops for in-country staff focused on delivering the curriculum and entrepreneurship pedagogy, and design a mentorship program. IDEMA, the Stimson Center and Union Kitchen are also part of the LIFE consortium.
From 2017-2019, the MENA-Michigan Initiative for Global Action Through Entrepreneurship (M²GATE) program brought together more than 400 students from five Michigan university campuses and their peers in Egypt, Libya, Morocco and Tunisia. Harnessing the power of virtual exchange, students worked in teams to find entrepreneurial solutions to social challenges in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, while learning new skills, building cross-cultural experiences and forging new relationships. Students developed their business concepts over an eight-week period and judges determined the winning team from each of the three cohorts. Three winning teams then participated in a pitch competition at the University of Michigan. The program was funded by the Stevens Initiative.
Since 2016, WDI has collaborated with the Center for International Enterprise to build capacity in entrepreneurship education and pedagogy at universities in Papua New Guinea (PNG). In the first phase of the project, WDI conducted a needs assessment and based on findings, developed a new entrepreneurship curriculum to be adapted by universities in PNG. A train-the-trainer workshop on how to integrate and teach entrepreneurship in various disciplines was conducted for 35 faculty members and administrators in PNG.
In the current phase of the project, WDI is providing customized, ongoing support to three universities as they build their academic entrepreneurship offerings. WDI also led a training for the Institute of Business Studies focused on launching an incubator. Since the start of the project, two universities (Pacific Adventist University and Divine Word University) have approved new academic entrepreneurship programs.
In 2018, WDI partnered with the Center for International Private Enterprise to enhance the design of its pilot entrepreneurship program in Macedonia targeting unemployed recent university graduates. To inform curriculum development, WDI traveled to Skopje, Macedonia to meet with over 30 individuals to understand Macedonia’s entrepreneurship ecosystem and strategize with local implementing partner, Youth Educational Forum (YEF). With findings from the needs assessment trip, WDI developed recommendations for enhancing the curriculum by incorporating a cumulative project, the business model canvas, as well as lean startup and design thinking approaches. YEF incorporated the recommendations into future offerings of the program.
In 2018, WDI assisted the International Labour Organization (ILO) with the pilot of its Ready for Business training program, customized for refugees, in Jakarta. Participants included refugees from Afghanistan, as well as migrants from Somalia, Ethiopia, Yemen, Iraq, Myanmar and Sudan. The program uses the ILO’s C-BED approach, focused on group-based learning with a community facilitator versus a professional trainer as a low-cost alternative to traditional entrepreneurship training. WDI reviewed the program’s curriculum of 40 modules and provided ideas for enhancement.
From 2014-2017, WDI partnered with the Center for International Private Enterprise and Tamkeen, a government-affiliated organization in Bahrain tasked with nurturing entrepreneurship development throughout the country. WDI built the capacity of 48 entrepreneurship trainers in Bahrain by providing a series of trainings on the topics of teaching entrepreneurship, leadership, critical thinking, active citizenship, ethics, and decision-making techniques. WDI also assisted Tamkeen with developing an entrepreneurship mentorship program and accompanying monitoring and evaluation framework, and consulted on the design of an entrepreneurship coaching program. This work was funded by The U.S.-Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI).