When lectures become STEP-trainers
The success story of STEP continues. After the implementation of STEP in Liberia, Kenya, and Uganda, the German Commission for UNESCO and Leuphana University of Lüneburg jointly train students in Lesotho to become successful entrepreneurs.
18 November 2014, 8.45 AM: Eleven teachers of five educational institutions in Maseru take their seats in the conference hall of the Lesotho National Commission for UNESCO. Some know and greet each other; others eagerly skim the training material. Usually, they are experts of various disciplines but for the next three days, they all share one objective: to become a STEP trainer.
STEP is an entrepreneurship training for African students, developed by scientists of Leuphana University of Lüneburg and their Ugandan colleagues. Within twelve weeks, students gain know-ledge in the fields of entrepreneurship, business, and psychology. What is unique about STEP: In the course of the training, participants build groups and start their first own business. The starting capital of 100 USD is repaid after the twelve months; the profit is shared among group members. Scientifically sound evaluation studies from other STEP countries show: The training does not only have a positive influence on the entrepreneurial mind-set of participating students but also leads to a higher rate of start-ups and business success.
Since the Lesotho National Commission for UNESCO had learned about STEP at a regional capacity building workshop in Namibia in 2012, it has been thrilled by the idea of bringing STEP to Lesotho. The train the trainers-workshop from 18 to 21 November 2014 finally marked the official starting point. Prof. Michael Gielnik (Leuphana University of Lüneburg) introduces the future trainers within three days to the STEP training and explains the STEP philosophy: If you take the initiative and believe in yourself, you can become a successful entrepreneur with very limited starting capital only!
From February 2015 on, it is the trainers' turn to get this message across. From all applications, around 200 students will be randomly selected to take part in the training.
The most important partner in the implementation process of STEP in Lesotho is the National Commisson for UNESCO. As part of the Ministry of Education, it connects with educational institutions, gets local partners on board, and coordinates and organizes the individual steps. "With STEP, we install a culture of people who do not look for employment but who look forward to create employment by themselves", project coordinator Tieho Rankhone states.
20 November 2014, 6 PM: Twelve modules have been simulated by the trainers, four fictional businesses have been started. After three days of the workshop, there are not only eleven newly certified STEP trainers but also confidence that STEP will encourage students to take charge of their future career and venture to start their own business.