The Global Links program is a public-private partnership program launched in 2011 by the U.S. Department of State’s Office of Global Women’s Issues, the Crummer Graduate School of Business at Rollins College (Florida), and Tupperware Brands to expand women’s entrepreneurship in developing countries by pairing up business students with women entrepreneurs.
During the last two years, the Global Links program, supported by the U.S. Consulate General in Kolkata, sponsored two scholars, Dr. Sharmistha Banerjee of Calcutta University and Dr. Rumpa Chakraborty of Shri Shikshayatan College, who worked to develop a pool of 50 students and 50 women entrepreneurs to grow women-owned businesses in eastern India. The scholars studied entrepreneurship at Rollins College, then mentored their students locally in India, equipped them with business knowledge and paired them with working women entrepreneurs. The business students shared the latest academic research with the entrepreneurs, who in turn taught the students about the reality of running a business.The Global Links India Alumni Connect program, under the guidance of Dr. Mary Conway Data-On from the Crummer School of Business, Rollins College, has expanded this initial network to continue the journey of building confidence and business acumen of women entrepreneurs in the region.The Global Links Change makers Alumni (volunteers and beneficiary women) paired with new students and weaved an agenda to work together on new business concepts and micro businesses of women energizing, accelerating and scaling up their businesses. The students learnt from real life businesses experiences and shared their learning with future students promoting volunteerism.The past beneficiary women entrepreneurs worked with the new business groups and helped them build networks, organized selling parties, and learnt the crux of building small and micro-businesses from real life experiences. In the process students learnt business incubation, scaling up and organizational skills while women entrepreneurs were able to showcase their businesses, build networks and learn business skills.At the closing event today, 17 students who worked with local woman entrepreneurs, gave presentation on their challenges and takeaways from the program and Rollins College announced scholarships for two best student participants of the Global Links India Alumni Connect program – Priya Purohit and Eman Khan. The top performers will be eligible to receive a partial scholarship to the Early Advantage MBA (EAMBA) Program at the Crummer Graduate School of Business at Rollins College in Florida.Welcoming the guests, American Center Director Monica Shie said, “When women-run businesses succeed, we all benefit. The Global Links model of matching business students with working entrepreneurs has proven effective in growing small businesses here in West Bengal. The Global Links India Alumni Connect program will continue to support that network.”The goal of the Global Links Alumni Connect program was to empower a group of talented women and promote entrepreneurship.