Underserved women across the globe will soon receive a business and management education, thanks to the global initiative 10,000 Women, launched late last week by the Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. Through partnerships between universities in the U.S. and Europe and business schools in emerging and developing countries, 10,000 Women also will seek to have a lasting impact on the quality and capacity of business education in developing regions around the world.
The initiative will invest in a largely untapped yet significant resource: the exponential power of women as entrepreneurs and managers. The initial partnerships will support pragmatic, flexible and shorter term programs, resulting in business and management certificates that can open doors for thousands of women whose financial and practical circumstances prevent them from receiving a traditional business education. There will also be a select number of MBA and BA degrees conferred.
Initial academic partners include such top-flight business schools as Stanford, Columbia, Harvard, Brown, Ross and Wharton, among many others, and Goldman Sachs will commit $100 million to the initiative over the next five years. “Half the world lives on $2 a day or less, so alleviating global poverty is an important priority,” said Garth Saloner, director of the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. “Entrepreneurship is integral to solving this problem in developing economies and something leading business schools ought to be involved in.”
Dean Glenn Hubbard of the Columbia Business School says “Our mission as a business school is to send our faculty and students…to help with teaching, case development and research, but also to bring something back here: a sense of what is possible, a sense of…exciting business opportunities that delight our students from around the world.”
In addition to funding tuition for business and management education, 10,000 Women will work with development organizations to better understand the local challenges girls and young women must overcome so more of them can realize economic opportunity and achieve their full potential. Many of these partnerships will seek to establish mentoring and networking channels for women and encourage career development opportunities.
10,000 Women will pursue a variety of ways to provide a business and management education to underserved women. For instance, schools will work together to establish or expand certificate programs ranging from 5 weeks to 6 months that could include courses in marketing, accounting, market research, writing a business plan, strategic planning, accessing capital and e-commerce.
“In many of these countries, there is very little entrepreneurial activity and very few women receive even a basic education,” says Robert Kennedy, executive director of the William Davidson Institute, housed at the Ross School of Business. “A program like this is an investment in the half of the population that has been neglected and whose talents are not being used. Entrepreneurship education gives women a leg up in gaining wealth, becoming independent, and participating in the transformation of their countries.”
“Those of us who champion open markets must also do our part to create more opportunity to ensure economic growth is more broadly shared,” says Lloyd C. Blankfein, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. “10,000 Women focuses on a critical, yet often overlooked area where we believe Goldman Sachs can use its resources and convening power to help build the foundation to expand the ranks of businesswomen, managers and entrepreneurs around the world.”
Increasing the entrepreneurial talent and managerial pool in developing and emerging economies, especially among women, is one of the most important means to reducing inequality and ensuring more shared economic growth. Goldman Sachs also will announce in the coming months additional 10,000 Women program partnerships that will provide more business and management education for disadvantaged women in the United States.