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Social Entrepreneurship 101: Africa 2010 Program – 1/3 of the Way There

The first week of teaching just ended, and we are already at a third of the way through our training program for 2010. Therefore, what better way to crystallize the week’s learnings than a party?!
We are running two classes at St. Aloysius this year, based on the students’ experience at running businesses. At Martina’s suggestion, Lisa, Rimple, Eon, Barry and I brought both groups together for a few hours Friday afternoon. Under the guise of discussing naming and logo of their companies in prevision of the next week’s marketing session, we have had the students pitch their business idea in front of 25 of their fellows.
After a week of class, the students are getting more comfortable at discussing their ideas in small groups as well as in front of the class. The joint session was therefore also an opportunity to get them out of the comfort zone again. Also, a study of entrepreneurship wouldn’t be the same without elevator pitches! (though I’m not sure the metaphor is quite as effective at St. Aloysius…)
In contrast, it was good to take some time aside from the curriculum and encourage students to let their creativity flow, by having them brainstorm company names and mottos and collaborate on their business plans.
Finally, the joint session was a good opportunity for networking. As we are looking at increasing the post-program support we provide to our entrepreneurs, creating a sense of community within trainees is essential.
The seminar was a great success! Overall, students have made tremendous progress in only a week. Of course, there is plenty of work to be done, but today’s seminar shows that they are not alone on the sometimes bumpy road to success.
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