Azerbaijan – On May 1, Azerbaijan’s Entrepreneurship Development Foundation held a conference in Baku entitled “Roadmap for Developing Small Entrepreneurship.” The conference explored the legal and regulatory barriers facing small businesses in Azerbaijan, and the policy alternatives that could be developed to address them. The 55 participants and speakers included representatives from Parliament, government, think tanks, and business. CIPE Regional Director Andrew Wilson travelled to Baku to speak at the event, and to conduct meetings with local business, policy, and youth groups to explore the challenges faced by young entrepreneurs.
Russia – The Vladikavkaz Institute of Management (VIM), a CIPE partner, on April 28 awarded certificates to 19 students who completed a six-week course designed to give local youth the skills needed to launch a business and fully participate in local democratic institutions. As part of the certificate program, students drafted business plans for business start-ups, the most viable of which will be presented by VIM to the regional economic development authority for possible funding. The start-up ideas range from launching a kindergarten to opening a soccer training facility. The students, ranging in age from 18 to 24, are the fifth group to complete the youth entrepreneurship training program funded under a grant from the National Endowment for Democracy.
Turkmenistan – On April 14-15, 2012, the Union of Economists (UoE) organized a two-day youth entrepreneurship workshop in which 17 youth from Akhal velayat secondary schools participated. On April 21-22, 2012, UOE held another two-day workshop youth entrepreneurship workshop for 24 participants of secondary schools in Ashgabat. Topics of the workshops included identifying features of successful entrepreneurs, personal finance techniques, competitive advantages, and guidelines writing business plans.
Lebanon – On April 25, CIPE partner the Development for People and Nature Association (DPNA) hosted an event to announce the winners of its Business Plan Competition, part of its “Fostering Free Enterprise in Youth” project. First place was awarded to Jad Ali Selmen for his plan to develop a soccer complex for youth in his hometown of Aadloun, South Lebanon. Second place was awarded to Mark Nassar for his plan to produce glow-in-the-dark products marketed towards teenagers, such as tee-shirts. The event also included a presentation by DPNA Project Manager Rami Shamma regarding the importance of integrating the concepts of civic education and entrepreneurship into the Lebanese high school curriculum. The event, attended by 150 students and teachers, was held at the College Notre Dame des Soeurs Salvatoriennes in Abra, South Lebanon.
Yemen – CIPE partner the Youth Leadership Development Foundation and the Marib Dam Foundation concluded their six-month Entrepreneurship and Leadership training in Sana’a and Marib governorates on April 29. The course provided technical training and entrepreneurship education for 25 young people from the two governorates, focusing on skills necessary to running a business such as management, planning, accounting, and marketing. The program also provided leadership and civic education training and covered topics such as leadership skills, communication skills, civil society work, and community participation. The training sessions culminated with a business plan competition that allowed participants to apply the skills and knowledge gained in the training. Three winning groups from each governorate will receive a $2000 grant. The event was covered by Saba, Yemen’s official news agency.
Washington, DC – On April 30, CIPE and the National Endowment for Democracy hosted a discussion on “Democracy, Entrepreneurship, and the Inclusion of Youth” featuring Daniel Córdova, president of Instituto Invertir; Arpita Nepal, co-founder of the Samriddhi Foundation; and Miriam Kornblith, Director for Latin America and the Caribbean at NED. Córdova and Nepal shared strikingly similar experiences from Peru and Nepal in engaging youth as citizens through entrepreneurship and leadership training. His Excellency Harold Forsyth, Ambassador of Peru, opened the program. A major theme of the discussion was the need to shape perceptions of young people toward democracy and market economies by helping them find opportunities for themselves and their communities. John Sullivan, Executive Director of CIPE, also took the occasion to recognize Instituto Invertir for winning the 2011 CIPE Leading Practices Contest with its EmprendeAhora training program.