The initiative, in partnership with the charity Voice of a Woman, will see MBA students being mentored by senior women leaders in the UK. They will then use their skills to encourage women-led entrepreneurship in developing countries.
Through a two-week residential trip, students will provide one-to-one coaching, mentoring and leadership training to women in India to support and grow their businesses. Students will be able to offer practical advice and guidance on all aspects of business, including writing business plans and marketing.
The new initiative will complement the school's existing Social Entrepreneurship elective which sees MBA students visiting a developing country to use their business expertise to solve real life business problems for local, community-driven organisations. For the last 2 years MBA students have visited Uganda where they have been involved in working with local charities to address a deep-seated social issue. Recent projects include creating a business plan for Kawempe Home Care, an organisation that provides holistic home care to people living with illnesses like TB and HIV /AIDS, and leadership training for health care support charity Reach Out Mbuya.
The partnership with Voice of a Woman bolsters Westminster Business School’s growing reputation for the excellence of its teaching of ethics, sustainability and corporate governance, helping to ensure its graduates conduct all of their business operations in an ethical and socially responsible manner.
Simon Healeas, Deputy Director of the Westminster MBA, said: "Social entrepreneurship is a fantastic way for MBA students to be exposed to a different approach to problem solving.
"Through coaching women in developing countries, students have the potential to develop and hone a whole range of transferable skills: working individually and in groups; managing ambiguity and complexity; working in a cross-cultural environment with significant resource constraints; and adapting quickly to a challenging environment with tight deadlines. It's a great way for students to gain some incredible real world experience, while also making a significant difference to the lives of women in countries of the greatest need."
Speaking at the launch event at the National Portrait Gallery this week, founder of Voice of a Woman Maureen Bryan said: "I'm very excited to be able to bring the resources and the expertise of the business school to women and to help them realise their full potential."