Professor Ieva Jākobsone Bellomi Launches Project To Support Female Entrepreneurs in Namibia and Zambia

In the beginning of July Professor Ieva Jākobsone Bellomi, together with her Latvian diaspora NGO #esiLV (Economic Cooperation and Investments in Latvia), launched a new bi-annual project to provide an entrepreneurial certificate program and an official platform to female entrepreneurs in Namibia and Zambia. The platform is intended to brainstorm upon, verify, and launch new business ideas. The project is financed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Latvia in the scope of its international cooperation and assistance grants. As a Latvian national, Professor Jākobsone Bellomi acknowledged that this is the first time a small Northern European country has built links and provided support to the African continent, and she is delighted that her project was chosen to be the first icebreaker for the North-South cooperation dimension. Although this also builds high expectations from the Latvian government, Professor Jākobsone Bellomi is confident that she has an extremely strong team behind her to create a very impactful and long-lasting tradition across the African continent.

Professor Ieva Jākobsone Bellomi

Professor Ieva Jākobsone Bellomi

The project is supported personally by their Excellencies Namibian and Zambian ambassadors to Italy HE Albertus Aochamub and HE Dr. Joseph Katema and the local development agencies in Windhoek and Lusaka. To facilitate the project Professor Jākobsone Bellomi has put together a world-class team of Latvian diaspora professionals working for the World Bank, OECD and regional national trade agencies. The team is a reflection of the North-South cooperation dimension covering Latvia in the North, Germany, Luxembourg, and Italy in central Europe and Egypt, Namibia, and Zambia in the African continent.

The first phase of the project – a week of bootcamp to immerse the participants in a strategic approach on brainstorming, idea generation and on validation tools shall be held in Windhoek and Lusaka in November 2022. In parallel, the Latvian diaspora experts shall work and share their experience with Namibian and Zambian international trade facilitation experts and government officials on how to build and strengthen the competitiveness of the national business environments in Namibia and Zambia.

The first phase shall be followed by an official certificate program from January to May 2023 administrated by Riga Business School, one of the top business schools in Nordic Europe. Riga Business school prides itself on bringing together students and faculty from different continents and building the strongest MBA program in the Baltics. The young African entrepreneurs shall study and network with their counterparts in Riga Business School, thus, building a women’s empowerment network for the future. It is hoped that the project shall help more women to transfer their entrepreneurial activities from the informal to formal economic sector, thus, building African female economic power. There are plans to train about 60 young female entrepreneurs in both African countries.

The program shall be finalized with pitching sessions by the young Namibian and Zambian female entrepreneurs to potential investors from Africa and Northern Europe in May 2023. Professor Jākobsone Bellomi acknowledges that it might be quite a bumpy road ahead, but everyone in the project team is convinced that it will be worth it. Africa is on the demographic rise with the youngest median age being 15.4 in Niger and with a forecasted quarter of the world’s population being African by 2050. It is a continent of a great history, culture, and traditions. Linking the African continent and its 54 diverse, beautiful countries with the youth in European countries is a true hope for a more inclusive and understanding world.

Professor Jākobsone Bellomi will be teaching Organizational Behavior and China’s Globalization Perspectives in Business with a particular focus on the African continent in Fall 2022.