Entrepreneurs Exchange Program (from Bangladesh and Nepal)
Center for Entrepreneurship Development (CED) of BRAC University, partnering with the Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Oklahoma, U.S. Department of State, and Nepalese Young Entrepreneurs’ Forum – NYEF) in Nepal; hosted a 5-week entrepreneurs exchange program in the United States that includes a professional fellowship placement at an American small business organization. The program was held in May 2014, another was organized in October 2014.
This program, funded by the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs’ “Professional Fellows” program, injected Bangladeshi and Nepali mid-level emerging leaders/entrepreneurs in entrepreneurial development, small and family-owned businesses and business education into working small businesses in Oklahoma and associate them with one of America’s leading universities.
The program aimed to provide professional experience and training that will nurture the participants’ talent and prepare them for more responsible leadership positions in their businesses, their communities and society in general as they return to Bangladesh and Nepal. In addition, the program provided U.S.-based small business people and educators an opportunity to collaborate with their Bangladeshi and Nepali counterparts as they participated in a 2-week exchange to Dhaka and Kathmandu in June 2014 and January 2015.
Through this program, ?? Bangladeshi and Nepalese entrepreneurs spent 5 weeks on various professional assignments in the U.S. where they attended lectures, discussions and exercises related to the role of entrepreneurship, economic empowerment and small business in society, the importance of budgeting, business plans, strategic communication, leadership and management principles, social media developments, the business/government interface and business ethics. The program also brought ?? U.S. entrepreneurs to Bangladesh and Nepal who spent a 10-day stint making professional calls and visits to Bangladeshi entrepreneurial organizations.
Through this program, participants specifically became able to:
– Learn about the day-to-day workings of the U.S. workplace through quality professional experiences of three weeks;
– Gain exposure to a variety of American business organizations and networks in Oklahoma and Washington, D.C.;
– Gain valuable knowledge for these professional experiences through conceptual lectures, discussions and exercises to expose them to concepts related to budgeting, business plans, strategic communication, leadership and management principles, social media developments, the business/government interface, intellectual property, contracts and business ethics;
– Enhance their leadership skills to facilitate positive change in their workplaces and communities as they develop personally and professionally;
– Participate in bi-weekly updates on start-ups being developed by students, faculty and alumni teams;
– Participate in weekly face-to-face feedback sessions with University of Oklahoma faculty to reflect on their professional experiences for that week;
– Participate in rich, diverse cultural experiences that represent Oklahoma’s unique environment, especially the Native American experience, and exposure to American family life in a variety of settings;
– Become acquainted with the Bangladeshi and Nepali-American community in the Oklahoma City metro area;
– Have the opportunity to reconnect with Oklahoma business people and educators who will make reciprocal visits to Dhaka and Kathmandu; and
– Get connected to a network of Bangladeshi and Nepali fellows, professional placement providers and university faculty through social networking to facilitate ongoing discussion and exchange.