Entrepreneurs are everywhere, not limited by borders or culture. While many budding entrepreneurs fail here in Canada, the rate of failure is even greater in the developing world. Many budding entrepreneurs in the developing world never achieve a basic standard of living or fail in their endeavor entirely. Failure can be fatal, as their business could be the means of their survival for them and their families. A lack of business education on how to properly form and counter common failures is a particularly challenging problem for rural areas as most of the education is limited to metropolitan areas.
Our project, Business Beyond Borders, targets rural areas that have a high concentration of small business ownership but lack an educational program. Our training focuses on introduction levels for Business Basics (Marketing, Management, Finance, Accounting, Supply Chain, Human Resources), adapted from our SAIT curriculum. In partnership with NGO’s in these regions, this curriculum is taught over the course of five weeks. Two teams, of two students and one faculty members each, spend three weeks each teaching and guiding entrepreneurs wither their businesses or business ideas, overlapping in the third week.
Through this project, both the students who hosted the seminars, and the attendees were impacted. Students had the chance to apply their skills, while helping entrepreneurs in developing countries understand more about business. 13 individuals who attended these seminars went on to implement their skills into their businesses. While difficult to maintain contact with the attendees due to high costs associated with phones and the time restraint, we have heard back from one entrepreneur, Yusuf. While in Zanzibar, we helped Yusuf create a brochure and a script to help market his delivery service to his existing business.