Providing the Tools, Training, and Technology to Promote Leadership: The YALI Network
The YALI Network provides virtual resources and vibrant physical spaces to equip young African leaders with the skills and connections they need to foster change in their communities and their countries. Established by the President in April 2014, the Network already includes more than 130,000 members. Using yali.state.gov and social media, the United States provides online courses and materials, and connects members with global leaders in their field. Over the next year, President Obama will continue to engage the YALI Network through virtual town halls. In addition to virtual connections, conversations, and classes, the YALI Network will also provide:
Virtual training, tools, and technology for the YALI Network. YALI Network members will have access to an array of online courses and training materials, along with virtual mentoring and networking opportunities.
- Customized online courses: The YALI Network platform has created tailor-made online courses on leadership, business and entrepreneurship, civic leadership, and public management featuring U.S. university professors and experts in their field. The training videos provide tips on everything from creating a business model to developing public-private partnerships, with supplementary guides with discussion questions and developmental actions.
- YALI Network face2face events – the ability to make connections with other young leaders in person: the YALI Network face2face Facebook group enables members to connect, network and even collaborate on new initiatives.
- Over 20 Curated MOOCs and 60 facilitated MOOC Camps: YALI Network members are able to access more than 20 Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) and will be offered 60 facilitated courses in MOOC Camps in YALI Spaces across the continent over the coming year.
Creation of state-of-the-art YALI Spaces. Over the next two years, American Corners in Cote d’Ivoire, Zimbabwe, and South Africa will be outfitted to provide YALI Network members opportunities to meet, learn, and incubate their ideas; spaces in seven additional countries will be renovated over the next three years. YALI staff or trainers will facilitate online courses and provide advising sessions on everything from business start-ups to opportunities for study abroad. Meeting rooms, collaboration spaces, and business tools will allow YALI Network members to work together to create social ventures, community service projects, and new business start-ups. These facilities will be equipped with the fastest available internet connections, tablets, creative software, 3-D printers, smart boards, video conferencing equipment, and high-tech learning tools.
Supporting Young Entrepreneurs
Supporting entrepreneurship is one of the most important aspects of YALI. By providing training on the latest trends in business, access to seed funding, and state of the art spaces in which to incubate new start-ups, youth-led businesses can get off the ground. The next stage is connecting budding entrepreneurs to investors, advisors, and distribution networks.
The 2015 Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) will be held in sub-Saharan Africa. In addition, the United States will continue to provide young Africans access to resources they can use to put their skills to work in service of their communities through:
- Entrepreneurship Grants: USADF is offering $2.5 million in seed funding to members of the YALI Network over the next three years in the form of 250 small entrepreneurship grants. These grants will support start-ups and expansion of businesses and social ventures in six countries in 2015 – Ghana, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, and Rwanda.
- Mobile Entrepreneurship Incubators: U.S. embassies in Africa will build entrepreneurial capacity beyond the capital cities by training and helping to incubate the businesses of at least 5,000 aspiring entrepreneurs from the Network in provincial cities and rural areas during 2015. StartUp Weekend and other traveling experts will accompany a mobile incubator, equipped with the tools and technology to get a business off the ground. Conducted in collaboration with local governments, institutions, and NGOs, the workshops and equipment are designed to walk aspiring entrepreneurs through the basic precepts of starting a business, including writing a business plan, leveraging online resources, raising capital, and expanding market share.