Latvian diaspora experts from the movement #esiLV and Riga Business School lecturers together with partners from Africa launched the country’s first development cooperation project in Africa last year. The project started with a visit from the Latvian delegation to Zambia and Namibia where Riga Business School representatives conducted an entrepreneurial boot camp for around 60 African women to strengthen women’s involvement in entrepreneurship. In January, these women joined Riga Business School’s four-month certificate training program in entrepreneurship in an online course led by Riga Business School Professor Mike Wells. What makes this project truly remarkable is that the driven women from Africa and Riga Business School students come from vastly different cultural backgrounds and environments, providing a unique opportunity for them to network and collaborate on international business ideas.

Riga Business School, like Riga Technical University, aims to build a community of internationally connected people, who have ambitious goals and want to develop their regions. Having partners from Africa is the next step toward creating large-scale impact. This is an exceptional opportunity for the students – they can work within an international team while still studying.

Genève Chikuni Mwansa, one of the project participants and the entrepreneurship course students says: “Studies have been educational and easy to understand due to the delivery method Mike uses when teaching. The class exercises and assignments have been designed to help you develop a business from scratch. His examples are based on real-life examples, proven track records, and mistakes to avoid. Mike is a great professor. We are given practical information while practicing what we are learning in class. This course is quite different from the study approach in Zambia, I must say. This course is a rare privilege, and not every girl has access to this knowledge, so I plan to address this problem by changing the lives of other girls. An educated woman who is aware of her abilities can help so many other girls, families and the nation as a whole.”

Mike Wells, professor, Riga Business School Lecturer in Entrepreneurship says: “It’s been an exciting class. I have scheduled eight guest speakers, four from Africa and four from Latvia, all recommended by students, and so far they have been very interesting. Regarding the student business ideas – they are under development. Very often the ones that succeed are a complete surprise; it’s very unpredictable. It’s great to see the students from Namibia and Zambia actively engaging in lectures, debating, and voicing their opinions.”

During the course, students in teams of four have to come up with business ideas and test them. The project will come to an end in May 2023 when the students will pitch their business ideas and defend their viability, but students are already using the knowledge they have acquired in practice.

The project is implemented with the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Latvia, with funding granted as part of development cooperation projects administered by the Ministry.

For more information:

Agnese Strazda, Riga Business School Director of Communication and Marketing,

Melisa Matvejeva, Riga Business School Student Engagement Manager,

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