Twenty women from the Copiapó Province of Northern Chile have inaugurated the test phase of an online business academy of social innovation for Chilean women, as well as those in neighboring Perú.
Launch in early 2012, the program – called DreamBuilder: The Women’s Business Creator – will eventually go on to train more than 3,400 female entrepreneurs who are engaged in expanding small or medium-sized businesses in the Andean nations.
A partnership between Freeport-McMoRan Copper, Gold (FCX), and the Thunderbird School of Global Business Management, the program is being piloted in communities surrounding Freeport-McMoRan’s mining operations in South America: El Abra, Candelaria, and Ojos del Salado in Chile, as well as Cerro Verde in Perú.
“Empowering women through education provides opportunities for them to live more productive lives, which would enable the development of healthier, more sustainable communities,” said Richard C. Adkerson, president and CEO of FCX.
“This is a unique multi-levelled business skills training and certification program that helps women build their dream of starting or growing their own business,” Adkerson said.
The learning management systems were designed by e-learning provider Serebra Learning Corporation (TSX-V: SLC). Serebra and Thunderbird began collaborating after last year’s Clinton Global Initiative Meeting.
Thunderbird and partnering organizations have been educating female entrepreneurs in developing countries since 2005, pioneering programs in Afghanistan, Jordan, Pakistan, and Perú. They have already reached more than 30,000 women, a number they hope will swell to over 100,000 by 2014.
“At Thunderbird, we believe that business can and should be a force for both economic and social change around the world,” said Thunderbird President Ángel Cabrera.
“FCX’s commitment to investing in the communities they serve through programs such as this is a living example of the impact companies can have on the long-term sustainability of the communities in which they do business.”