In October, Riga Business School, as a structural unit of Riga Technical University, traveled to Namibia and Zambia to lead “She Rebuilds the World” young female entrepreneurs’ boot camps, which brought together more than 90 entrepreneurial women from Africa.The new season also includes a Train the Trainer phase to ensure further knowledge transfer in Africa. The “She Rebuilds the World” project has provided a platform enabling a transfer of Latvian entrepreneurial skills to young and aspiring African women entrepreneurs through various initiatives. In January, boot camp participants will join an entrepreneurship course at Riga Business School, where their innovative ideas will be developed and intertwined with those of Latvian students. “She Rebuilds the World” was created and continues to be developed by Latvian diaspora experts from the #esiLV movement.
Movement #esiLV, with the participation of Riga Business School representatives, together with partners from Africa, under the auspices of the Latvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in August last year, began Latvia’s first project in sub-Saharan Africa. It is aimed at promoting business opportunities in Zambia, Namibia, and, starting this year, Zimbabwe.
The first phase of the second season kicked off in October with a face-to-face bootcamp in Namibia, hosted by Riga Business School Director Claudio Rivera and Paula Elksne, Director of the Education Innovation Laboratory at Riga Business School. The first training camp was attended by around 44 women, but the second training camp in Zambia, hosted by Paula Elksne and Riga Business School Project Manager Linda Sinka, was attended by around 46 women. Young and aspiring female entrepreneurs learned to use a problem-solving approach, which develops a mindset to solve problems not only in their companies but also in society. Working in teams, the participants developed several business ideas. This allowed the participants to understand the nature of entrepreneurship – to research the market, understand their target audience, understand financing, and prepare their business pitch. Around 60 women from Zimbabwe and from regions in Namibia and Zambia participated in the remote format of the boot camp last week.
This year, the “She Rebuilds the World” project is also supplemented by a Train the Trainer phase to strengthen knowledge transfer to women in Africa further. Last year’s graduates – ten women from Zambia and ten women from Namibia – took part in this training phase, learning the content and mentoring skills alongside Riga Business School representatives, so that they can take it back to their communities and cities. The new trainers are now helping the second-season participants to move forward with purpose and get better results.
Sonia Mubiaelelwa, one of the participants, “We were provided with a safe and trustworthy space to develop our business ideas, as well as the knowledge and technical skills needed to run a successful business.”
Ieva Jākobsone Bellomi, #esiLV board member and founder of “She Rebuilds the World”: “With my experience and accumulated knowledge of the socio-political and economic development factors of African countries, with my #esiLV team – I am building a holistic and modern, distinctive and high added value women’s economic empowerment project, attracting new, strong partners from Latvia. Our experts in digitalization, innovation, and women’s leadership are Latvia’s ambassadors on the African continent, who have made a very strong mark for Latvia’s name and expertise in this year’s project. Hopefully, this will open up more opportunities for cooperation for both Latvian NGOs and Latvian companies in one of the most promising epicenters of economic development – the African continent.”
Paula Elksne, Director of Education Innovation Laboratory: “It is a real pleasure to work together with these motivated women who are committed to themselves and always ready to obtain feedback. We are grateful to the founders of the project for inviting us to collaborate on this initiative, during which we have been able to promote the transfer of Latvian business knowledge and skills, learn from our partners in Zambia and Namibia and also establish valuable partnerships in these countries.”
Mike Wells, Professor at Riga Business School: “Thanks to the opportunities provided by the project, I will be leading a four-month certification training program in entrepreneurship in an online format, which will be joined by the boot camp participants in January next year. First year of the project was an eye-opener, revealing the untapped potential of African women in Zambia and Namibia. I am eager to see how their innovative ideas will evolve and intermingle with those of our Latvian students. This project is more than just a training program; it is a melting pot of cultures, ideas, and aspirations, bridging the gap between different parts of the world and creating a unique opportunity for global cooperation and mutual learning.”
The project is implemented with the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Latvia, with funding from development cooperation projects administered by the Ministry.