Washington, D.C. – November 18, 2010 – The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Cisco and World Learning today announced a new collaboration to promote local entrepreneurs, workforce development and economic growth in developing countries. The collaboration will work through the Cisco Entrepreneur Institute and Cisco Networking Academy—programs that provide entrepreneurship and information and communications technology (ICT) education, mentoring networks, and technology resources—to help individuals develop and manage successful businesses.
The partnership is one of the key initiatives to grow out of President Obama’s 2009 speech in Cairo, in which he vowed to deepen U.S. engagement with Muslim-majority countries in order to foster economic growth, promote civil society and provide new economic opportunities for U.S. business and investors—a promise that has since expanded to include other developing nations.
“USAID is proud to partner with Cisco and World Learning to expand local entrepreneurial activities in developing countries with the goal of alleviating poverty and promoting sustained economic growth,” stated Deputy Administrator Donald Steinberg, at a ceremony held at USAID to sign the partners’ Memorandum of Understanding. “This alliance will help build sustainable businesses and train the business leaders of tomorrow.”
With an aim to train more than 2,500 students over the next two years, improve local businesses, raise local incomes and help grow local economies, USAID is providing $1 million in seed funding through World Learning to encourage the creation of new Cisco Entrepreneur Institutes and Networking Academy programs in up to 10 countries. USAID Missions will in turn be invited to partner with local Cisco offices to fund country or customized initiatives, such as curriculum enhancement, scholarships, or initiatives that target underserved populations, including youth, women and persons with disabilities. A portion of the funding also could be used to translate and localize training content to ensure it meets local business laws and regulations.
“Since 2000, Cisco has worked closely with USAID in more than 40 countries to combine the power of the Internet with best practices in ICT and business education,” stated Clay Lowery, vice president, Cisco International Government Affairs. “By supporting the next generation of entrepreneurs and ICT business leaders, we are making a significant investment not only in the future of our company, but also in communities around the world.”
“World Learning believes this partnership with USAID and Cisco will unlock the potential of entrepreneurs to develop effective business practices and networks that can help address critical issues like poverty and exclusion,” said Adam Weinberg, World Learning president and CEO. “This joint project will help cultivate the global leadership needed to create positive, sustainable change in our increasingly connected world.”
Through this partnership, USAID will utilize Cisco’s investments in the Entrepreneur Institute and the Networking Academy, as well as World Learning’s two decades of experience supporting institutional capacity development worldwide to expand and deepen the economic and social impact of entrepreneurship and business development.
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About World Learning
World Learning is an independent, nonprofit organization that provides development, education and exchange programs in more than 70 countries. For more information, please visit http://www.worldlearning.org/.
About the U.S. Agency for International Development
The American people, through USAID, have provided economic and humanitarian assistance worldwide for nearly 50 years. For more information about USAID’s programs, please visit http://www.usaid.gov. Contact Information:
Robyn Jenkins-Blum Cisco Systems, Inc. 408 853-9848 [email protected]