WDI Aiding Budding Entrepreneurs in Macedonia
Friday, October 19, 2018
WDI is partnering with the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) to enhance the curriculum for an entrepreneurship training program for recent university graduates in Macedonia.
The program, first implemented in 2016 by the Youth Educational Forum (YEF) in Macedonia, sought to combat the high unemployment rate by engaging a core group of youth in entrepreneurial activity. YEF adapted an entrepreneurship curriculum WDI had previously developed for CIPE to the context of Macedonia.
In August 2018, CIPE asked WDI to review the existing curriculum and recommend ways to improve it, such as suggesting new activities and identifying any gaps. Kristin Babbie Kelterborn, a WDI senior project manager, and Stephen Brand, a faculty affiliate for WDI’s Entrepreneurship Development Center (EDC), traveled to the capital city of Skopje in early October to conduct a needs assessment from which they would base their recommendations.
The pair met with more than 30 individuals to gain a better understanding Macedonia’s entrepreneurship ecosystem. Based on the findings from the interviews, WDI will develop some modifications to the existing curriculum.
Kelterborn said that while the entrepreneurship ecosystem in Macedonia is in its early stages, it is quickly growing and that makes it an exciting time to be involved. She said there are many entrepreneurship initiatives that have emerged in the country over the past two years, many of which are led by motivated young people with creative ideas who want to contribute to economic growth in their country.
“But there is still a gap to fill in terms of entrepreneurship education,” she said. “This program will help fill that gap by providing young entrepreneurs with the knowledge, skills and experience necessary to launch a business in their country. Overall, it will help build a stronger environment that supports young people to launch innovative enterprises in Macedonia.”
During their trip, Kelterborn and Brand also met with CIPE and YEF to discuss their experience implementing the 2016 offering and talked about a strategy for strengthening the program. Next year, WDI will collaborate with the two organizations to redesign the curriculum with a focus on expanding it and embedding group-based and interactive activities.
Kelterborn and Brand also were guests on YEF’s podcast, “Skills That Pay the Bills,” hosted by Emilija Petreska. They talked about how young people can succeed as entrepreneurs in Macedonia, how best to support them and what they learned from their needs assessment visit to Macedonia and the goals of the YEF program. Listen to the podcast below.
The program in Macedonia is just the latest partnership between WDI’s Entrepreneurship Development Center and CIPE. WDI and CIPE are currently collaborating on a sustainable livelihoods project for refugees in Turkey (learn more here, here and here) as well as a university curriculum development project in Papua New Guinea (learn more here). Previously, they worked together on an entrepreneurship training program, as well as entrepreneur coaching and mentorship programs in Bahrain (learn more here and here).