I love being a staff writer for 3BL Media/Justmeans on topics - Social Innovation, Social Enterprise and Social Entrepreneurs. When I am not writing for 3BL Media/Justmeans, I wear my other hat as owner of Serendipity PR. Over the years I have worked with high-profile, big, powerful brands and organisations within the public, not-for-profit and corporate sectors; and won awards from my industry....
New Social Innovation Online Business Academy for Women in Chile and Peru
Twenty women from the Copiapó Province in Chile have inaugurated the test phase of a new social innovation online business academy for women in Chile itself and Peru. The academy was created through a partnership between Freeport-McMoRan and the Thunderbird School of Global Business Management. The program is called DreamBuilder: The Women's Business Creator and is currently being piloted in communities surrounding the Freeport-McMoRan's mining operations in South America; Cerro Verde in Peru and Candelaria/ Ojos del Salado and El Abra in Chile. Richard C. Adkerson, President and CEO of Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc., says, "Empowering women through education provides opportunities for them to live more productive lives, which would enable the development of healthier, more sustainable communities."
This is a unique multi-levelled business skills training and certification program that helps women build their dream of starting or growing their own business. Using social innovation web based technologies; all the instruction, tools and resources are delivered through an online learning format to provide women with business knowledge and training. It is a cloud-based and designed specifically to support women entrepreneurs in Chile and Peru. Maria Veronica Bondi Etcheberry program participant says, "My dream always has been to have my own business to be an independent and self-reliant woman, to be able to support my children and have my own resources. Thanks to this school, I will have the opportunity to learn and manage my business, and better yet, to be my own boss."
DreamBuilder is designed to accommodate low-speed internet connections and its online format allows women to complete the courses at their own pace, anytime and anywhere. Computer technology has been made available at local schools, community centres and other locations to support the program. Other media such as video, interviews, storytelling, quizzes and gaming are also integrated with curriculum that covers a variety of business management skills such as market research, budgeting, accounting and customer service.
Freeport-McMoRan initiated the program as a "commitment to action" through the Clinton Global Initiative at its 2011 Annual Meeting to help address the global challenge of empowering women through education. The initial goal of the program is to reach 3,400 women, with plans to expand the program nationally in both Chile and Peru.
Research shows that investments in women's employment, health and education are correlated with a range of positive outcomes, including greater economic growth and children's health and survival. As women progress, everyone in society benefits, including men. Therefore, social innovation learning initiatives like this that tap into the limitless potential of women is not only the right thing to do, but is the smart thing to do!
Photo Credit: Thunderbird for Good website