Freeport-McMoRan, Thunderbird School of Global Management and BlueDrop Performance Learning will create a series of 12 online business courses for women small business owners. The target audience is an estimated 4,500 women in Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Texas who either want to start a business or who already have a small venture but could benefit from some additional business training. Many of these women are at risk or face significant life challenges and currently lack access to a business training program.
The courses are narrated by a female character who talks from the first person perspective of an entrepreneur. The courses follow the logical progression of steps that a new entrepreneur would follow to think through a business idea. Activities, games, and quizzes are included to keep the program interactive. Video dramas and real testimonials are used as business cases to demonstrate decisions, practices, common mistakes, and cultural issues. A 'business plan generator' is included in the program, guiding the participants in answering questions about their own business and then ultimately using those answers to automatically create a first draft of a business plan. The courses are housed on a learning management system that enables the creation of virtual networks where the women can communicate and share with each other online.
The courses will be provided free of charge and will be made openly available online. Freeport-McMoRan will also work with a series of implementing partner organizations who serve women in order to make the program available to their constituency groups. While primarily focused on the American market, the new version of the DreamBuilder courses will be available globally online for any English speaking woman. Partner organizations will receive training on the program and will gain the ability to create customized networks for their women members.
Freeport-McMoRan will contribute financial support of the program development, ongoing hosting, and will leverage its expertise in community development and its network of service providers. Thunderbird School of Global management and BlueDrop Performance Learning will contribute academic and technical expertise.
January-May 2013: Needs assessment- Determine relevancy of DreamBuilder for US market
- Creation of program budgets, timelines, and strategy
June-September 2013: Draft curriculum and secure initial partner organizations
- Actively seek initial implementing partner organizations to make the DreamBuilder program available to their women constituents.
- Create the draft of the program curriculum.
- Work with partners to provide feedback in the curriculum design phase to ensure relevant content.
October-December 2013: Finalize curriculum and program design
- Adjust curriculum based on feedback from partners and the expertise of Thunderbird.
- Complete curriculum and program design.
- Work with BlueDrop Performance Learning to draft course storyboards.
January-March 2014: Production and testing phase
- BlueDrop to produce individual courses of the DreamBuilder courses
April-June 2014: Beta-testing and updates
- Program will be run with test groups
- Individual partner online learning networks created
- Necessary adjustments made to courseware based on beta test
July 2014-December 2015: Program launch and implementation in partnership with Fresh Start Women's Foundation
- Partner organizations training on the courseware
- Promotion done by partner organization
- DreamBuilder rolled out to initial students
In recent years, a growing body of research suggests that investment in women's economic empowerment provides significant benefit to the overall economic prosperity of a country. It has also been shown to provide social benefit such as increased investment in families' education and healthcare.
In the United States, studies indicate that the rate at which women have been starting businesses is higher than men, and women are expected to create over half of the new small business jobs in the next five years. According to the 2013 State of Women-Owned Business Report, other than large publically traded companies, privately held women-owned businesses are the only business category that has provided a net increase in new jobs created since 2007. However, entrepreneurship studies show that only 47.7 percent of women, compared to 62.1 percent of men, believe that they are capable of starting and operating a business.
American DreamBuilder: The Women's Business Creator is seeking partners in the geographic focus area of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Texas to offer facilitated classes. Since the program is developed and is available anywhere, anytime online, very limited financial and human resources are required by partner organizations to use oroffer they program to women they serve (and it's completely free to participating women).
American DreamBuilder: The Women's Business Creator is available for free in English and Spanish at www.dreambuilder.org. CGI partner organizations may access and use the course for benefitting women they may serve.