M²GATE Program


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 collaborated 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.

Designed and managed by the William Davidson Institute throughout 2017-2019, M²GATE introduced U.S. and MENA students to each other to work in virtual teams. These teams worked virtually to develop social entrepreneurship projects and accompanying pitches. Students developed their business concepts over an eight-week period with the help of instructors, mentors and successful entrepreneurs. 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, an international effort to build global competence and career readiness skills for young people in the United States, the Middle East and North Africa. The initiative honors the legacy of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens, who devoted his life to building bridges between people from different cultures. The Stevens Initiative is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State and administered by the Aspen Institute. The Stevens Initiative is also supported by the Bezos Family Foundation and the governments of Morocco and the United Arab Emirates.

Watch the video or read our Impact Report: Building Bridges Through Virtual Collaboration to learn more.


The M²GATE Program received extensive news coverage. Below are select stories.


Learn from the students, advisors and mentors behind M²GATE. Want to see more? Click here for all blog entries.


It has been a pretty phenomenal summer. This past year I have been exposed to people of various backgrounds and experiences, many of whom were involved in entrepreneurship. They all shared different insights, but one common theme emerged: there is not one path to entrepreneurship. We are all different and…


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…


M²GATE: the MENA-Michigan Initiative for Global Action Through Entrepreneurship is a a virtual exchange program between the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region and the United States. Students are put in small teams to come up with an innovative solution to a problem faced by the region…

Photo Reel

Great moments from a great programs:


For more information on this and other programs please submit the contact form or email us at wdi-virtual@umich.edu.

M2GATE partner logos (from left to right) USAID, U.S. Department of State, the Stevens Initiative and The Aspen Institute

The Stevens Initiative is also supported by the Bezos Family Foundation and the governments of Morocco and the United Arab Emirates.

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