Bogota, Colombia, November 17, 2016 – Accion announced today that it has received a grant from FedEx to create a digital version – and ultimately expand the impact – of its award-winning Dialogue on Business (DOB) program. DOB is a classroom-based business education program designed for the working poor to ensure they have the skills they need to succeed in their microenterprises and support greater economic livelihoods.
The FedEx grant will support the adaptation of DOB to a digital format, making the program less expensive to deliver, more flexible, and more easily accessible for a broader audience. The program will be piloted and rolled out initially in Colombia.
“Creating a digital version of the Dialogue on Business program holds significant promise for expanding business literacy and capability, in Colombia, across Latin America, and potentially even globally,” said Michael Schlein, President and CEO at Accion. “FedEx’s support – and their shared commitment to serving small businesses and entrepreneurs – will enable us to expand access to this essential training for the many microentrepreneurs who could benefit from business skills training and education, but are constrained by time and distance.”
“Our support of Accion’s Dialogue on Business (DOB) is one of many FedEx Cares investments in the area of Global Entrepreneurship,” said Jenny Robertson, Director of Global Citizenship at FedEx. “Our objective in that area is to advance women and minority-owned small businesses globally, helping them access new markets and grow. Accion’s DOB program has the potential to empower entrepreneurs and create connections."
To fulfill Accion’s mission of building a financially inclusive world, it provides support to microentrepreneurs through client education initiatives, one of which is the DOB program. Since DOB’s launch in 1999, more than 830,000 entrepreneurs (62% women) have been trained in 16 countries on 2 continents. More than 50 program modules – available in Spanish, English, and Portuguese – focus on a range of topics, including “Starting a Business,” “Improving Business Competitiveness,” and “Making the Most of Money.”
The digital version of the program will focus particularly on women entrepreneurs in peri-urban and semi-rural areas, and will be designed specifically for a low-income, low-literacy audience, with the goal of improving participants’ business skills. It will be rolled out initially in Colombia, where a large portion of the population is self-employed or employed in the informal sector where many microenterprises operate.
Over the long term, Accion aims to make its new digital program widely available across the Latin America region and beyond, benefitting entrepreneurs whose access to such training is otherwise constrained.
Accion is a global nonprofit dedicated to building a financially inclusive world with economic opportunity for all, by giving people the financial tools they need to improve their lives. We are building the next generation of top-tier microfinance institutions, and over more than 50 years have helped build 65 such institutions in 32 countries on four continents that today reach millions of clients. Our impact investing initiatives are pushing beyond microfinance to catalyze more than 30 innovative start-ups dedicated to improving the efficiency, reach, and scope of financial services for the poor. And our Center for Financial Inclusion is helping to build a stronger industry with high standards and broad engagement. Currently, our work spans nearly two dozen countries, including the U.S., where we are the nation’s largest nonprofit microfinance network. For further information, visit http://www.accion.org.