From education to employment

First CIEE eLab cohort celebrates graduation

The first cohort of participants to the CIEE eLab (short for Entrepreneur Lab) course which teaches post-graduates the skills needed to start a new business have celebrated completion of the inaugural six-week program. 

Participants came from across the globe with the cohort of 19 spanning 16 different nationalities* with many aspiring to launch or grow a business with social impact. During the six-week program participants developed pitches and honed skills around idea generation and developing an entrepreneurial mindset. 

The value of bringing a diverse group together to develop entrepreneurial skills was made clear when participants Nilab Alokuzay and Krunoslav Weinpert decided to form a joint venture. Pointers International and International Sustainable Impact Corporation (iSi) will sell their products from a new home base in Berlin. The course gave these two entrepreneurs the skillset to define objectives and prepare a 5-10 year business plan. 

The average age of course participants was 31 (spanning from 22 to 54). Most had previous experience in a corporate environment and enrolled on the program with the intention of either giving their existing business a boost or getting the help and guidance needed to get a new idea off the ground. 

The course took place in London and Berlin where participants spent six weeks developing their business ideas, building a strong international network and leveraging access to successful startup founders, accelerators and investors. 

Dagmar Hoppe, Director of eLab said: 

“Course participants came together with the shared vision of being their own boss. Some were looking for help and support to get a business idea off the ground, while others already had a business and wanted to learn how grow their success further. What bought them all together was the desire to make a real difference and create a business that has true meaning and social impact. 

“Starting a business is risky and time-consuming. With eLab, aspiring entrepreneurs save time and money in their entrepreneurial journey. They find team-mates, gain insights into Europe’s startup hotspots and come out with a sustainable business or growth plan.” 

Oladotun Awani, eLab participant:

 “Taking six weeks away from normal daily life creates space to focus on one thing. I was able to think hard and reflect on my business goals away from distraction. The advice I received from instructors and coaches, and the support from peers on the course helped me to build an international network with plenty of opportunity for global collaboration as well as allowing me to overcome obstacles and develop an effective growth plan for the business.” 

The short, modular format of eLab helps recent graduates and working professionals quickly cultivate core business skills including sustainable business planning and impact measurement, ideation and product development, negotiation and pitching. Participants reap the benefits of living and learning in a multicultural city with a vibrant start-up culture while developing a peer group of entrepreneurial-minded global innovators. 

CIEE offers two eLab programs:

  1. eLab Emerge, an introductory module designed for participants who want to get their business idea investor-ready or their start-up ready to launch, and
  2. eLab Advance for participants who are ready to further develop and grow a newly launched business. 

Participants can take a single eLab program or both six-week programs back to back to get the benefit of two coordinated courses. They can take one program in Berlin and the other in London, in order to explore the business climate of both entrepreneurial cities. 

* Participants in the first eLab programs represent a diverse range of international minds, including participants from Indian, Portuguese, Venezuelan, American-French, British-Nigerian, British-American and Italian-Brazilian backgrounds. 

About eLab: Fostering entrepreneurship and equips young leaders with the skills they need to launch their own business. eLab’s rigorous, condensed programs provide recent graduates and working professionals with the tools, mentorship, hands-on experience, and networking opportunities they need to bring their business visions to fruition, faster. 

About CIEE: The country’s oldest and largest non-profit study abroad and intercultural exchange organization, transforms lives and builds bridges by promoting the exchange of ideas and experiences. To help people develop skills for living in a globally interdependent and culturally diverse world, CIEE sponsors a wide variety of opportunities for cultural exchange, including work exchange programs, teach abroad programs, and a worldwide portfolio of study abroad and internship programs for college and high school students. .

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