Graduate Dean Dennis Hanno led a team of undergraduate and graduate students, staff, and faculty to Ghana to teach entrepreneurship to high school students and other learners, and to start new initiatives within the community.
“Culture, Society and Entrepreneurship In Developing Economies” was a two-week winter mission to bring Babson’s Entrepreneurial Thought & Action (ETA®) ─ a unique style of shaping business skills ─ to young entrepreneurs in developing areas of Africa. The course linked academics with a service learning experience in the cities of Takoradi, Sekondi, and Cape coast, Ghana.
During the final week of the session, Babson students organized a region-wide business plan competition for more than 2,000 young Ghanian entrepreneurs.
“Babson student teams also worked with selected small businesses in the area to develop strategic plans and to foster their growth and development,” said Hanno.
“Over the life of this project, we have brought Babson’s unique focus on ETA® directly to more than 20,000 learners. Through the knowledge we share, the impact on local communities goes far beyond those with whom we work with during our time here. It’s amazing to see how the people embrace the Babson philosophy of taking action on ideas,” observed Hanno.
The program, begun more than ten years ago by Hanno while he was at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, has grown from 12 students creating a computer center in a village church, to dozens of participants from Babson teaching business basics to more than 2,000 Ghanaian learners from elementary school age to adulthood.
The session culminated with a region-wide business plan competition for students from more than 30 top high schools in the Western and Central Regions of Ghana. The teams competed for prizes and the coveted Babson Cup, given to the school with the best plan. Most of the teams have already taken steps to implement their ideas before the Babson team returns to the U.S.
The power of the program was summarized by Babson participant Alex Patinkin, who noted, “The knowledge we’ve been able to share and the new friendships we’ve formed will shape the futures of all those involved not only from Babson, but from our enthusiastic Ghanaian students as well.”
Babson’s Ghana adventures Twitter: @dhanno #Ghana2013
By Barbara Spies Blair, 781-239-4621, firstname.lastname@example.org
1/18/2013 12:00 AM