The Global Links program expanded to India with our first scholar Dr. Sharmistha Banerjee from the University of Calcutta. Dr. Banerjee arrived in the United States (U.S.) in early 2015 where she began her in-depth course work and cutting-edge social entrepreneurship training at Rollins College. Upon completion of the academic training, she participated in an externship with Tupperware Brands where she acquired practical experience and business fundamentals, while building relationships with professionals across all functions of the company. While in the U.S. Dr. Banerjee attended the United Nations Women’s Empowerment Principles annual event and spoke at an AshokaU conference about the importance of entrepreneurship in emerging economies upon her return to India.
Dr. Banerjee has since returned back to India where she is immersed in phase two of the Global Links program - “Train the Trainer Activation”. To date, she has reached more than 400 students and 50 faculty through nine social entrepreneurship workshops. Her partnership with Bandhan Bank of Kolkata, India, will provide support to female loan recipients operating their enterprises. In May of 2016, she held a Student-Business Women event, hosted by The American Centre in India, where students provided influential stakeholders with key learnings and future program goals on empowering women. Dr. Banerjee continues to make lasting contributions to Calcutta University and her community by activating program-based learning in her community. She is committed to helping women in India defeat the cultural, societal and educational barriers to labor force entry and economic empowerment, while working to eliminate female discrimination and gender inequality.
Dr. Sharmistha Banerjee will return to the U.S. in the spring of 2017 with five of her students who participated in phase two of the program. They will participate in a 2-week immersion experience in social entrepreneurship and American culture with Rollins College and Tupperware Brands.
The goal is to catalyze women's economic empowerment and entrepreneurship in India by creating a coalition of businesses, leading academic institutions and NGO partners with the support of the U.S. Secretary's Office of Global Women's Issues to reach at least 10 scholars in India.
"By working across sectors, we can give future generations of Indian women entrepreneurs the opportunity to become leaders in business and throughout Indian society."
— Catherine Russell, U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women's Issues
GLOBAL LINKS PROGRAM INFORMATION
1. A competitive application process that targets female business scholars for a year of best-in-class business training in social entrepreneurship with a Global Links' educational partner and a hands-on externship at the sponsoring corporations' headquarters or national offices.
2. After this rigorous course and training, the selected scholar returns to her home country and implements the curriculum at her university. Part of the interactive curriculum requires students to act as mentors for women-owned businesses and women entering the workforce in their community. This step is based on the train the trainer model. This model provides social issue flexibility for partners looking to create shared value because the curriculum can be tailored to address a multitude of barriers facing women in the economy including: access to small business expertise, basic financial education tools, basic job skills requirements, specialized training (e.g. IT, manufacturing) etc.
3. The scholar and her students work with a local NGO partner to implement economic empowerment projects with women small business owners on the ground.
4. Returning to the United States after a successful year of implementation, the scholar and a selection of her most promising students attend meetings and provide insight to the U.S. State Department about their experience and the measurable impact of the program and its multiplier effect.
5. The scholar returns to her home country to open a career center where she will be able to disseminate the best practice principles to her students and women-owned businesses. The scholar will be able to further advocate for women's issues by embedding in her course curricula. The scholar will also remain a spokesperson for the Global Links program.