UBC’s Sauder School of Business signed partnership agreements this month with two business schools at Kenya’s Strathmore University in Nairobi, to strengthen existing bonds between the institutions, foster increased knowledge exchange and enhance a collaborative entrepreneurship program for disadvantaged youth in Nairobi.
Sauder’s Dean Robert Helsley, Grosvenor Professor of Cities, Business Economics and Public Policy, was in Kenya earlier this month to meet with David Wang’ombe, Dean of the Strathmore School of Management & Commerce (SMC) and George Njenga, Dean of the Strathmore Business School (SBS), to sign a new memorandum of understanding with SMC and to renew an existing agreement with SBS.
“Our partnership with Strathmore in delivering the Social Entrepreneurship program is one of the Sauder School’s most impactful international activities,” Helsley said at a dinner in Nairobi hosted with the two schools. “By allowing our students to collaborate with peers from Strathmore and mentor aspiring entrepreneurs, the program is empowering them to bridge cultures and see first-hand how the tools of business can make a positive difference in the world.”
The Canadian High Commissioner for Kenya, David Angell, also spoke at the dinner about how the partnership adds to the developing bonds between the two countries.
The strengthened partnership will also include a student exchange program, with the first group of Strathmore students arriving in Sauder in spring.
Sauder’s Social Entrepreneurship program was launched in Kenya by Associate Professor Nancy Langton in 2005, stemming from a similar entrepreneurship training program run in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. The five-week program pairs business students from Sauder and Strathmore to share business skills with Kenyan youth developing their own ventures.
Since its inception, more than 80 Sauder students in the MBA, Master of Management and BCom programs have travelled to Kenya, connecting with more than 450 entrepreneurs in two impoverished areas of Nairobi, Kibera and Mathare. This year features the largest cohort yet, reaching over 120 entrepreneurs.
Sauder’s partnerships also foster research collaborations, such as ongoing research by Sauder Professor Thomas Ross, who was also in attendance in Nairobi this month, into competition policy in Kenya in collaboration with two Strathmore researchers.
Professors from both universities will have the opportunity to work with graduate students and teach at the other school, and there are developing connections between the two schools’ executive education programs.