Sunday, December 28, 2008

Africa: Goldman-Sachs Educates Women in Emerging Nations

Female business students in Lagos in class this year with the support of Goldman Sachs, which is based in New York.
(Marc Bryan-Brown)

LAGOS - Finding time away from building a new business is never easy, but Ngozi Okoli-Owube gladly set aside her daily schedule this year to go back to school to learn marketing, accounting and managerial skills that she never had the time to master.

For five months, Okoli-Owube, 31, alternated her work establishing a preschool for learning-disabled children in Lagos with weeklong stints at the Lagos Business School, joining a class of two dozen women to earn a certificate in entrepreneurial management.

"I have a university degree, but I did not have the training in how to run a business," said Okoli-Owube, who had been struggling to get enough students to enroll at her "Start Right" school. "I have to learn to keep the books, how to market and to get advice from women who've come out the other side."

So when she saw a local newspaper advertisement last spring for 10,000 Women, a global entrepreneurship program run by Goldman Sachs, she and about 100 other women jumped at the chance to apply.

The welfare of girls and women has long been on the agenda of international agencies. The World Bank, for example, this year announced steps to increase support for women entrepreneurs by channeling some $100 million in commercial credit lines to them by 2012...


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