Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Friday, April 26, 2013

U-M partners with community to promote global entrepreneurship

For the second year in a row, young entrepreneurs from the Middle East and North Africa are participating in monthlong fellowships at U-M to learn first-hand how to build their businesses.


More information

Learn more about the State Department program.

Learn more about the ISR program.

The program, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, enlists U-M experts and southeastern Michigan organizations to work with the fellows.

"This year's program is even bigger than previous programs," said Barbara Peitsch, who directs the program based at the Institute for Social Research. "We are excited because we are involving entrepreneurs from Libya for the first time. The program offers professional development opportunities for participants, and facilitates people-to-people connections that promote better mutual understanding and respect."

Participants from Egypt, Israel, Libya, the Palestinian Territories and Tunisia include small-business owners, business educators, representatives of nongovernmental organizations and government officials involved in supporting small business development.

As part of the program, participants will take part in classroom sessions on entrepreneurial ecosystems, business planning and leadership development with U-M marketing, communication and entrepreneurship experts.

Participants also will be placed in two-week internships in area businesses, including Google and Menlo Innovations in Ann Arbor, and Compuware, Green Garage and Detroit Venture Partners in Detroit. The internships were arranged by the Arab American Women's Business Council, one of U-M's local community partners.

After spending three weeks in Michigan, the group will travel to Washington, D.C., to participate in the State Department's Professional Fellows Congress to network with other young leaders in their fields and refine the plans they will implement when they return home.

To follow up on the connections established here, Peitsch will bring two groups of U.S. hosts to the Middle East and North Africa, starting in September 2013, for two-week "reverse exchanges" that will include workshops, organizational visits and onsite consulting.

ISR is one of 17 U.S.-based nonprofits and universities that are hosting foreign professionals from more than 50 countries and territories.