The M²GATE program brought together undergraduate students from Egypt, Libya, Morocco, and Tunisia with their peers in Michigan to collaborate virtually on real-world learning projects and design social enterprises. In the process, students gained 21st century skills in leadership, teamwork, and cross-cultural communication, among others. Aseel Saad is one such student. Aseel is a program alumna who, since completing the program, has built on her virtual exchange experience in inspiring new directions. Here is more about her experience, in her own words:
In December 2017, I got my acceptance email to join M2GATE after getting rejected from 20 other entrepreneurial programs.
M2GATE gave me the opportunity not only to know how to start, build and pitch a project, but also to meet a large number of experts, who gave me all the support I needed.
A few months after I received my M2GATE program certificate, I joined the “Drivers For Change” Program in the UK to visit social enterprises in eight cities: including London, Liverpool, Bradford, Edinburgh, Sunderland, and Birmingham. I was also able to take part in the Social Enterprise World Forum in Edinburgh last September, where I socialized with social entrepreneurs and shared my social enterprise idea.
This wouldn’t have happened without the M2GATE program. Through M2GATE I discovered some new skills in myself that I didn’t know about, like video editing and leadership. M2GATE was a turning point. It let me understand my potential and discover my hidden skills. After being rejected from many programs, M2GATE gave me the skills and confidence I needed to gain more opportunities.
Soon after returning from the UK, in January 2019, I started my own social enterprise, “TripleT Courses” – and here comes the best part of my story.
TripleT Courses is an internet-based social enterprise addressing the quality education goal of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through offering one-to-one online language training courses that are flexible and affordable.
So far, I have held twelve free sessions for new clients and an outing. When I opened the application for a free trial session, I received 40 applications! I plan to further develop the project by contacting large organizations. With my new video and pitching skills, I have created two promotional videos on the TripleT Facebook page; you can watch them here and here.
As I begin this new enterprise, I want to give a big shout out to the M2GATE team at the William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan and the Stevens Initiative for all the different kinds of support I had in the M2GATE program.
The Stevens Initiative is also supported by the Bezos Family Foundation and the governments of Morocco and the United Arab Emirates.