Thunderbird and its partners welcomed 33 women entrepreneurs to the start of their first day of classes in the 10,000 Women Business Training Program on Aug. 4, 2010, in Lima, Peru. One of the goals of this program is to incentivize micro-finance institutions (MFIs) to incorporate business training as part of their service offerings. The specific objectives of the program are to provide 700 women entrepreneurs in Peru with access to advanced business education, international networks, mentoring and finance by 2013.
10,000 Women is a five-year investment by Goldman Sachs to provide 10,000 underserved women around the world with a business and management education. The Peru outreach grew from Thunderbird’s 10,000 Women program in Afghanistan and involves a four-year partnership with Goldman Sachs, the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF), Mibanco, and the Universidad del Pacifico. All classes are currently being held at Pacifico’s campus in Lima.
“We know that investing in women creates a positive multiplier effect that provides support beyond that one individual,” said Noa Meyer, the program manager for 10,000 Women. “The expansion of 10,000 Women to Peru will enable women who run small to medium businesses to not only receive the business and management education they need to grow their enterprises, but provide them with access to finance that will stimulate economic growth to the benefit of families and communities throughout the country.”
The program in Peru is funded not only by Goldman Sachs, but also the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF) of the Inter- American Development Bank, and Mibanco, the largest micro-finance institution in Latin America. The certificate program is part of a larger four year project called “Strengthening Women Entrepreneurship in Peru.” The overall goal of this project is to alleviate poverty in Peru.
Women eligible for the business certificate program have repaid loans of at least $5,000 and have five or more employees. The first cohort of women went through a rigorous application process and were chosen based on their business model, credit history, and the demonstration of their drive to succeed in business and their business’ growth potential.
The curriculum was developed by faculty members Mary Sully del Luque, Ph.D, Steven Stralser, Ph.D, and Mandi Bullough, Ph.D, from Thunderbird School of Global Management and faculty from our partner university, Universidad del Pacifico.
The business certificate program in Peru is 150 hours of classroom instruction, and it is expected that students will be able to produce a business plan for their enterprise at the end of the program. Women in the first cohort will receive their business certificates on Dec. 14, 2010. Those who complete this program will join a global “alumni” group and be eligible to attend networking events, business expos and serve as guest speakers at events.
“This is extremely empowering for these women to be a part of something that not only is in Peru but is global,” said Thunderbird for Good program manager India Borba. “These women will form bonds and continue to use each other as resources and peer mentors for the rest of their lives.”