WDI Assists In Development Of Entrepreneurship Project For Refugees

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

WDI’s Entrepreneurship Development Center (EDC) recently lent support and expertise for a pilot project designed to boost entrepreneurial thinking and problem-solving skills among young refugees and local youth in Jakarta, Indonesia.  

EDC team members assisted by reviewing and providing input on 40 training modules to be used to teach entrepreneurship and other skills to young refugees and local youth in the country. The training program, Ready for Business, is organized by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Labour Organization (ILO).

Over the next six months, approximately 100 youths as young as 16 will meet twice a week for three hours each time to learn how to become more self-reliant. There will be lessons about entrepreneurship, community-supported networking and social development, and strengthening one’s emotional well-being.

The EDC, housed within WDI’s Education Initiative, provides entrepreneurship education consulting to organizations and universities in emerging markets around the globe.

While most of the refugees in the UN program are from Afghanistan, several migrated from Somalia, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Yemen, Iraq, Myanmar and Sudan. The local youth live in Jakarta neighborhoods where the refugee shelters are located.

The Ready for Business training program is divided into five main themes, with emotional well-being and peaceful co-existence activities  incorporated into each. The themes are:

  • Getting started with entrepreneurship: setting a vision, the basics of entrepreneurship, selecting a business idea and understanding the market
  • Dealing with marketing and sales: developing a marketing plan, building a brand, social media marketing, building an online business and sales techniques
  • Managing a business: human resource management, managing quality control and productivity, time management and cultural awareness
  • Focusing on finances: understanding costs, making a profit, bookkeeping, cash flow forecasting and accessing finance
  • Preparing for the future: being a responsible business, self-awareness and action planning

At the end of the pilot program, which organizers hope to replicate elsewhere, participants will have developed a business plan for their idea. Aspiring entrepreneurs will be awarded business grants for the best start-up plans, and receive long-term support in the areas of enterprise development, psycho-social well-being, and peaceful co-existence between refugees and the host community.

Sara Andersson, enterprise development technical officer at the ILO, said the organization was appreciative of WDI’s help in revising the modules.

“WDI’s suggestions and comments really helped us to take the modules one step further,” she said.

Amy Gillett, vice president of WDI’s Education Initiative, said WDI was pleased to work with the ILO on the entrepreneurship curriculum.

“The curriculum is very solid and incorporates many best practices in entrepreneurship education, including mini-case studies of entreprepreneurs operating locally and many hands-on activities,” Gillett said. “I am sure the graduates of Ready for Business will be well positioned to launch a sustainable business.”

The pilot training program in Jakarta was launched in early September. Andersson said the program is off to a great start and students seem motivated and excited to participate.

“There was a lot of interaction between local and refugee youth, and the materials seem to be just the right level for the students,” she said. “It was great to see how easily students adjusted to the methodology and started working independently without support in their groups. There was a lot of discussion and many students expressed afterwards that they really enjoyed the initial focus on their own dreams and visions.”


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