Association of African Entrepreneurs Team
Kirthi Jayakumar, Natacha Borri, Pavithra Rajan, Petroc Wilton, Rita Sheryl, Sowmyan Jegatheesan
Using their writing and business expertise, a cross-national team of 29 online volunteers collaborated with the Association of African Entrepreneurs (AAE) to produce a 400 page compendium of information relevant to entrepreneurship in Africa, available for free download on the website of the Ghana-based NGO.
“The manual tells any aspirant entrepreneur everything he needs to know to undertake to an entrepreneurial venture in Africa”, says Cornelius Nartey from AAE. “The online volunteers worked tirelessly in recording and verifying information, and then putting it across to readers in a way that would be both interesting and utility-oriented. Each volunteer's contribution has been immense and significant in making this venture successful. The level of commitment each volunteer exuded in the project is incomparable; each of them treated the project with professional zeal.”
AAE seeks to empower its clientele, small and medium enterprises as well as current and future entrepreneurs, through training, coaching and access to information, knowledge and resources. According to Cornelius Nartey, the publication has attracted a wide global readership and also increased awareness about AAE and its work to strengthen entrepreneurship in Africa.
Thanks to the strong relationship AAE has created with the online volunteers, most of them have extended their support to other areas of AAE’s work. “We take an active role in developing the NGO and have become lifetime volunteers for AAE”, says Sowmyan Jegatheesan, an Indian Engineer who is working for a multinational company in the U.S.A..
Petroc Wilton, chief editor of the Australian daily telecommunications journal Communications Day, who edited articles on the promotion of entrepreneurship and broader economic development across a number of African countries, is also interested in further collaboration. “I believed that working with AAE would give me the opportunity to help further the cause of economic development across the region – a key underlying driver for eventual social change.”
Kenyan MBA student Rita Sheryl, who has been volunteering with AAE since 2010, contributed analytical research articles on the business environment of Rwanda, Egypt and Sudan. Rita opted to support AAE because “Empowering others to positively change their lives has always been my dream.”
For Pavithra Rajan, a clinical physiotherapist from India who works as a monitoring and evaluation officer on a national HIV/AIDS project and volunteers for an NGO focusing on the needs of children with cancer, “volunteering has become a part and parcel of my life. It gives me a lot of satisfaction to see that my skills and knowledge can help make a difference in the lives of the underprivileged. I feel more empowered and a successful and content person in life. Hopefully there would be no end date for my collaboration with AAE!”