Barefoot MBA


Barefoot MBA goes back to Kenya
November 30, 2011, 8:21 am
Filed under: Africa, Blog, Kenya

The Barefoot MBA is heading back to Kenya, this time via the Stanford program that first supported it. Through Stanford’s Service Learning Program and ThinkImpact, which provides experiential learning opportunities in rural Africa, a team of 18 students will adapt and teach the Barefoot MBA to entrepreneurs in the Coast region. We are excited to strengthen our first partnership and build a new one, a fitting celebration of the fifth anniversary of the Service Learning Trip that inspired the Barefoot MBA.

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More progress in Rwanda
August 9, 2011, 10:01 am
Filed under: Africa, Blog, Rwanda

Our partner in Rwanda, Gardens for Health, reports that it’s using Barefoot MBA lessons to teach families in its malnutrition program. Many mothers have started their own savings groups as a result.



Fourth anniversary

Four years ago this month we first piloted the Barefoot MBA. Since then we’ve expanded from 1 country to 12 (that we know of), 2 creators to countless partners and volunteers. We’ve reached people on every inhabited continent, including thousands of participants. Some of their stories are below; many don’t reach us. And we’re still serious about our lofty-sounding goal to reach anyone, anywhere.

So we begin our fifth year not with another recap of how far we’ve come but with a plea to you, our readers, for two things:

  1. Website redesign and relaunch: Our blog-turned-website was adequate in the Barefoot MBA’s infancy, but a well-designed, robust site could help expand our reach
  2. Adaptation and translation assistance: Our curriculum can go only as far as it’s understood, which for now means locations that can leverage existing adaptations. Spending a few days in local markets should generate enough information for a new adaptation, and fluency in local language means translation should take no more than a few hours

If you’d like to help, or know someone who might, please comment on this post or e-mail us at info@barefootmba.org.

And if you haven’t already, feel free to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

We look forward to another productive year ahead!



Expansion in Rwanda
February 2, 2011, 10:42 am
Filed under: Africa, Blog, Rwanda

Gardens for Health, our partner in Rwanda, reports that the Barefoot MBA has reached more than 500 individuals in its 13 cooperatives. GHI is growing in Rwanda, and we look forward to the Barefoot MBA’s growth with it.



2010 in review
January 1, 2011, 7:40 am
Filed under: Africa, Asia, Blog, India, Kenya, Latin America, Malawi, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Philippines, Rwanda, Thailand, Uganda

Four years ago this week we conceived of the Barefoot MBA idea, determined to create a workable curriculum for the Thai social enterprise that inspired our work and wondering aloud what our creation would look like in Africa, where we saw indisputable need but no opportunity to make it there.

In 2010, we made it – to no fewer than seven African countries. In Kenya and Rwanda this summer, Katherine ran workshops with two partner organizations, Maker Faire Africa and Gardens for Health International. (The latter loosely translated Barefoot MBA into the local language as rwiyemeza mikimo w’ikirenga utagira n’inkweto, which literally means a master good entrepreneur with no shoes on.) Other organizations adapted the Barefoot MBA in Malawi, Nigeria and Uganda, and at least two more are working with it in southern Africa.

We also made it to Nicaragua, where volunteers ran a four-week workshop, and to another site in India.

The lion’s share of these new partnerships sought us out, not the other way around.

In addition, we continue to hear encouraging reports from existing partners. For example, a Philippine partner rolled out the Barefoot MBA to up to 21,590 clients by August, a year after our train-the-trainers workshop and pilot. That’s a staggering number, especially in the wake of the country’s devastating typhoons.

Oh, and the Thai social entrepreneur who inspired the Barefoot MBA four years ago this week? He mentions us in his TED talk (starting around 10:45).

Our social media efforts on Facebook (become a fan!) and Twitter continue to expand our reach. Our blog-turned-website continues to get hits from every inhabited continent, and we continue to update it with anecdotes and adaptations. We continue to hear of others using the Barefoot MBA around the world and look forward to more stories and success in 2011.

Happy new year!



Partnership in Uganda
November 20, 2010, 12:05 am
Filed under: Africa, Blog, Uganda

The Barefoot MBA is heading to Uganda. Dave, an Intel employee who worked on a computer training program for a different organization in Uganda, is heading back there to train teachers and mentors through Educate!. Educate! runs a two-year mentoring program for high school students to become socially responsible leaders.

Dave will use the Barefoot MBA to help students start projects that give back to the community, from starting a business to passing on skills to fellow classmates. We look forward to updates on his progress.



Rwanda update and adaptation
November 9, 2010, 9:25 am
Filed under: Africa, Blog, Rwanda

Gardens for Health International has introduced two Barefoot MBA lessons to new cooperatives. Feedback has been “excellent” so far, Julie writes.

GHI’s Barefoot MBA adaptation is now posted on the curriculum page.