What is the Strivers Foundation?
The Strivers Foundation is an integrated business education and microfinance program in which Ugandan youth, who have completed their secondary education but are unable to attend university, receive practical instruction in entrepreneurship and business management over the six week course. At the end of the program, the Ugandan students receive a microloan to start small, tech-based enterprises in their local communities.
Why is the Strivers Foundation Important?
By nurturing the growth of small, youth-driven, enterprises and encouraging the proliferation of basic technologies in rural regions, the Strivers Foundation is bolstering a much-needed middle class and thereby improving the social stability and economic resilience of sub-Saharan Africa.
How Does the Strivers Foundation Program Work?
The Business Launch Program is a six week course, which focus on imparting practical skills that are relevant to entrepreneurship in local economies. Students receive classroom instruction for the first 4 weeks coupled with trips to factories, visits from inspirational mentors and opportunities to engage in practical hands on training in so that students have a better understanding how they can use local services to support their businesses. During this period, students are broken into teams to compete in 2 business plan competitions. These serve as practice opportunities allowing students to practice performing in different corporate rolls and creating different parts of the business plan. The final 2 weeks are reserved for independent research leading to the creation of a business plan and the presentation of this plan to the Strivers' board. All plans deemed satisfactory will be offered initial funding in the form of a loan. After students graduate the program, they continue to receive support and guidance from the Strivers Foundation.
Will Strivers Have a Lasting Impact?
The curriculum, which imparts practical skills that are relevant to entrepreneurship in local economies, is designed by the Strivers Foundation to suit the location in collaboration with local educators and successful businesspeople. In addition to educating the students, the program helps the students form a tight support network of other students and local businesspeople that they rely on for assistance and guidance long after they graduate from the program of the Strivers Foundation.
Who Participates in the Strivers Foundation Program?
The Strivers Foundation focuses on making essential aspects of business education available to young people who have completed their secondary education but have no prospects for further academic study. Students are invited to participate in the Strivers Foundation program based on talent, merit and interests, most frequently at the recommendation of groups in their community.
Where Does the Strivers Foundation Operate?
The pilot program of Strivers Foundation will be launched in 2010 in Ntinda, Uganda.
Why Should the World Care About Entrepreneurship in Africa?
Many countries in sub-Saharan Africa, including Uganda, are locked in a perpetual cycle of poverty: people are too poor to afford higher education; without that education, the same people cannot climb the economic ladder. The ongoing lack of educational and economic opportunities leads to despair, and ultimately, conflict on local and even international scales. Political aggression and social tension always comes at a cost to those directly affected as well as those who stand by with apathy.
What Positive Impact Does the Strivers Foundation Have on Communities?
The Strivers Foundation breaks the perpetual cycle of poverty, and therefore prevents local and international conflict, by providing an education that encourages enterprise, and then providing the means for the youth-driven enterprises to take flight. The program of the Strivers Foundation allows countries to create the resources needed for development themselves from within themselves. Through the Strivers Foundation, jobs are created, technology becomes accessible, and opportunities are manifest.
What Positive Impact Does the Strivers Foundation Have on the World?
A greater population of educated, informed, and ambitious individuals with opportunities to reach for creates more political dialogue, greater participation in democracy, better internal monitoring of leaders and a brain trust capable of innovating solutions to local problems. In short, the Strivers Foundation contributes to global economic development and political progression by providing education and business opportunities where they are needed most.
What are Microloans and Why Does Strivers Provide Them to Students?
Microloans are incredibly powerful tools in eradicating world poverty; by providing opportunities individuals who have limited access to credit through traditional financial streams, those individuals are able to build businesses that would otherwise not exist. For example, a man who makes wooden stools for a living might not be able to acquire a standard loan to purchase a chisel set that will allow him to produce better stools and augment his personal income; a microloan supplied to the same man would allow him to purchase the chisel set and expand his business while borrowing otherwise inaccessible money at a reasonable cost of capital.
How is the Strivers Foundation Different from Traditional Microfinance Organizations?
Traditional microfinance give people the means to pull themselves up the economic ladder; the Strivers Foundation provides the same means but also endows borrowers with an education that applies to an entrepreneurial venture. The Strivers Foundation also seeks to foster the growth of youth-driven businesses in industries that have relatively high financial and educational barriers to entry.
Does Strivers Make Sense From an Economic Perspective?
To close the education gap between the US and Uganda, roughly 350,000 more Ugandan students would need to enroll in university programs each year. The scholarship cost of sending this many students to Ugandan universities is about $2.4 billion a year; furthermore, the infrastructure to accommodate a 40-fold increase in the Ugandan student body is non-existent. The Strivers Foundation overcomes these economic problems by offering a program that costs less than $1,500 per student, operates on a local level, and provides students with much-needed self-employment opportunities.
Where Does the "Strivers" in the "Strivers Foundation" Come From?
Strivers Row was an area of Harlem in New York City that accommodated a group of successful African Americans in the early 20th century. These ambitious people worked their way up the economic ladder of the post-industrial United States through a combination of hard work, perseverance, and practical education. The Strivers, as they were known, embodied the idea that with talent and opportunity any group of disadvantaged people can achieve their goals.