ACE Laurier Teaches Entrepreneurship to Working Children in Egypt
Students from Wilfrid Laurier University are truly changing the world!
Schlegel Centre for Entrepreneurship & Social Innovation
Dave Tran, President, ACE Laurier
On June 21 and 22, three ACE Laurier (Advancing Canadian Entrepreneurship) students traveled to Egypt to teach underprivileged working children essential business skills. The kids, who ranged from 10 to 16 years of age, work in a variety of local industries to help support their families. ACE Laurier's innovative program entitled "The Business of Our Dreams" showed the children that they could use the skills they learn at work to launch their own businesses in the future.
The ACE team worked with Egyptian university students from the Sadat Academy of Management Sciences in Cairo to design and implement this innovative teaching program in the city of Aswan with 20 underprivileged working children. The aim was to teach the children various skills, including marketing, logo design, branding and product development. With these skills they may one day start their own businesses and create brighter futures for themselves and their local economies.
This project, run in association with MEDA (Mennonite Economic Development Associates) is part of ACE Laurier's SIFE (Students in Free Enterprise) program. The SIFE program teaches free enterprise and entrepreneurship to members of the local and international community. The project was first conceptualized last March when Ed Epp of MEDA approached ACE Laurier with an opportunity to become involved in the 'Promoting and Protecting the Interests of Children who Work' or PPIC-Work project. The PPIC-Work project was designed to study and change the nature of child labour in Egypt. The PPIC-Work is bettering the lives of working children in Egypt by enforcing "child friendly" practices with small and micro-enterprises through business development institutions.
In an attempt to further increase and diversify the knowledge of these children, the PPIC-Work project sought to utilize ACE Laurier's expertise in teaching business skills to children, and the comprehensive "Business of our Dreams" program was delivered with great success. The children were very receptive to the program and were excited by the new skills and lessons they learned and put into practice. One child commented "I never realized that I could use the things I learn at work to start my own business when I grow up." The ACE Laurier team is currently looking to expand the project to other communities in Egypt with the help of the SIFE team at the Sadat Academy.
The Business of our Dreams is one of 33 educational outreach projects that recently helped ACE Laurier win several top prizes at the national ACE Campus Enterprise Challenge. Laurier won the Students In Free Enterprise (SIFE) National Championship and earned the right to represent Canada at the SIFE World Cup in Barcelona, Spain in September.
Visit www.acelaurier.ca for more information.