By Jack Arnhold, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – On Friday, March 8th, students of Rio-based NGO EduMais were visited by a team of business leaders from Cambridge University’s Judge Business School MBA program as part of a one-day entrepreneurship session. The visit aims to inspire local students and establish an ongoing mentoring program between the students and the executives.
“It’s very important for the students to believe in a bigger picture and to step out of the box. Because they have limited thoughts about what they can achieve, due to their cultural context.” comments Diana Nijboer, head of EduMais. “We’ve tried to encourage them to think bigger.”
The entrepreneurship course at EduMais is now running in its second year, where it combines learning English with other vocational skills needed to enter the job market. She adds “This is the second year we’ve run this course. And we’ve had students going on to attend university and even gaining a one-hundred percent scholarship at places like PUC university.”
This is the first time that international executives have visited, with a new partnership being established between EduMais and Judge Business School. This visit saw students interacting with executives from Apple, Schroders, Barclays and J.P. Morgan.
“The idea behind bringing international executives is that it opens the students to different mindsets, to different cultures, behaviors and approaches. I think that makes the students more adaptable when they go on to work, but also encourages them to dream big.” Nijboer continues.
Anna Bowman, a volunteer at EduMais and one of the teachers of the entrepreneurship program, adds, “Also I think it gives them another push. If they know that they have all these people behind them with these amazing careers and successes that believe in them, I think it will help them to believe in themselves that they can go on to achieve great things in their lives.”
Wouter Schuitemaker, director and owner of Firefly Ventures Ltd, organized the group from Judge Business School and led the day’s entrepreneurship session and presentations. He comments, “We were quite deliberate when we brought the group together, that this could not just be today, and that the guys who were coming from Cambridge today were committed to helping these guys going forward.”
He continues, “And hopefully, not just with this group, but with future groups. Judge Business School has a huge focus on entrepreneurship and of course social inclusion. So this is a perfect fit.”
As well as giving presentations and answering questions from the students, the group also contributed a monetary donation to support the further development of the students, as well as giving the school five Raspberry Pi computers on which to learn coding and other technological skills.
The students were keen to share their enthusiasm for the program. Henry, one of the entrepreneurship students, who is looking to becoming an engineer or a maths teacher, comments, “I think it’s a good opportunity because we can learn from someone who has already gone through what we are going through now.
“So we can get some advice and use that to improve ourselves and also to prepare for the future.” He continues.
Jacqueline, who wants to become a graphic designer, adds, “When I was a child beginning my English classes. I never thought I would have this opportunity. And it’s amazing to meet different people doing different jobs and on different life journeys. It’s inspiring.”
EduMais are always looking or motivated volunteers. Those interested can email: email@example.com