Empowering future entrepreneurs
Worldwide around 400 million students do not have access to secondary education. Often access to school depends largely on socioeconomic background rather than merit. Despite talent, motivation and the ambition to create positive change, millions of young people miss out on secondary education, mostly for financial reasons, and with it a chance to contribute significantly to their country’s further development.
Aiducation International provides students with merit-based scholarships and invites alumni to attend regular workshops. Building on Aiducation’s workshop formats and with funding from the Swiss Re Foundation, Swiss Re developed the Swiss Re Academies. The Academies are one-week intensive programmes staffed by Swiss Re employee volunteers where participants are educated on three crucial topics:
- The Start Up Academy offers the entrepreneurial skills needed to found their own small businesses.
- The Corporate Career Academy offers the professional skills to apply successfully for jobs.
- The Entrepreneurship Academy offers the skills for entrepreneurs to grow or scale their small businesses.
After the courses, the volunteers help participants stay focused on their learnings through remote mentoring. Together with Aiducation, the Swiss Re Foundation also launched the Start Up Fund, which allows Swiss Re staff as well as external parties to donate directly to an Aiducation-administered fund that invests in Kenyan start-up projects.
GOALS AND EXPECTED IMPACT
Four to six Swiss Re Academies are run every year, each with 40 to 50 students. Since 2014, participants have developed business plans for a total of 85 start-ups. Many of them later put their business ideas into practice, and already 13 of their start-ups are up and running. In 2017 a total of six Swiss Re Academies were offered in Kenya and the Philippines.