CHAPTER 4 Engaging with Business Markets
4.6 Entrepreneurship Training Online
To address the problem of youth employment and to ensure women- owned small- and medium-sized businesses in Jordan have knowledge and tools to grow their business.
Unemployment and lack of enough jobs is a global problem. Different solutions exist, but one thing remains certain: businesses create new jobs. In many cases, people do not have access to entrepreneurship education. The objective of Funzi is to enable anyone to become an entrepreneur and to grow their own business by accessing free mobile learning supplemented by blended, in-person mentoring and validation of new skills.
Funzi was pioneered in South Africa to address youth unemployment through skills training and start-up incubation for enterprise development in urban and rural communities. It incorporates the innovative use of mobile technology, interactive mobile-learning methods, and mentoring to enhance the effectiveness, accessibility and cost-effectiveness of entrepreneur education. Learning in Funzi is self-paced and the program includes online training, field work (e.g. market research and business plan development), and mentor support. Learning is assessed through quizzes, completion of field work tasks, and a panel presentation that includes mentors, educators and business experts, and “partners” (stakeholders). The model is established in each country with a partner institution.
In Jordan, Funzi has partnered with the UN Office for Project Services (UNOPS), Jordan Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the UK Department for International Development, and the Jordan River Foundation to deliver the mobile learning platform for women-owned, and small- and medium- sized businesses in Jordan, equipping them with the knowledge and tools to grow their businesses. The course will be available for approximately eight months and will cover general business skills and address common knowledge gaps and barriers felt by traditionally disadvantaged businesses. The mobile course ends with a certification and identifies the most promising women entrepreneurs for an offline intensive training and mentorship programme, to help grow their businesses and participate in United Nations procurement processes.
This model represents a process innovation, changing the way entrepreneurial learning is delivered by increasing accessibility via the mobile learning service available as a web app, by developing a whole ecosystem of partners into a blended learning model, and by validating the learning.
It is unique because it is designed to quickly adapt to any context where there is a need to increase job creation and access to business start-up support. Funzi uses the human-centered design approach to listen to users and adapt to their needs (e.g. using user-experience mapping to understand how the service fits into and improves the life of users). They also test new products utilising user test groups to gain feedback and adapt product development (learning by doing). For example, in Jordan the application with women business owners is being tested by a subset of participants to adapt to the cultural context and user needs. To enhance adaptation to local needs, Funzi always involves local partners to ensure local relevance and it has also developed Funzi Communities and Funzi Ambassadors to deepen relationships with users. This model allows them to be more tightly present in user communities and provide a better feedback loop about users’ needs.
Good Practice Principles
Mobile learning is extremely scalable due to the penetration of mobile devices globally. The Funzi model involves the funder purchasing learning outcomes (i.e. 1,000 women entrepreneurs will graduate), not paying for inputs – therefore a failsafe mechanism for the funder.
Collaborative Resilience-Based Action
Funzi Communities are communities of changemakers who positively impact their surrounding society, and amplify the impact of Funzi mobile learning. Funzi Communities deepen the connection Funzi has with their users and enable them to get to know their users’ needs better, to make sure they continue to provide the tools to build the skills users want to improve their lives. Funzi also wants to encourage the development of peer-to-peer support networks and face-to-face communities.
The Funzi model helps people help themselves, empowers them to achieve their goals, and gives them concrete skills to be successful.
The Funzi model always involves local partnerships to ensure local needs are met. Local ‘programme organisers’ (i.e. UNOPS) can use the product for free to meet their entrepreneur training goals and any revenues or funding are split between Funzi and the organiser so both parties can meet costs of their portion of the programme.
Contribution to Social Cohesion
Employment opportunities of some sort, whether through being an employee or entrepreneur, are critical to achieving social cohesion, which is why Funzi focuses on livelihood and well-being related topics. By providing people with the tools to develop themselves, Funzi assist in building social cohesion on the ground.
Funzi, UNOPS, Jordan Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the UK Department for International Development and the Jordan River Foundation.
Name: Aape Pohjavirta