Initially, the BDCs started out as a partnership with the International Chamber of Christian Commerce (ICCC). In 2007, the Presidents of four African nations invited ICCC to help them develop their countries. ICCC invited delegations from each of the nations-Rwanda, Burundi, Liberia, and Benin—to meetings in Israel where historic trade agreements were signed. These were the first trade agreements between Israel and African nations since Israel’s 1967 war.
Drawing on a long-term relationship between ICCC leaders and Dr. John Mulford, Director of the Regent University Center for Entrepreneurship (RCE), ICCC invited Mulford and RCE to partner in the BDC project. RCE has been training entrepreneurs in developing nations since its founding in 2004. Before that, Mulford served as Dean of Regent University’s Graduate School of Business, where he oversaw program development, faculty recruiting and development, student recruiting, instruction, and student services.
Dr. Mulford and his colleague, Jason Benedict, developed a special curriculum for this project. It emphasizes hands-on learning to prepare aspiring entrepreneurs with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in the challenging world of business start ups. Much of the program consists of field assignments where students observe, research, analyze, and test their ideas in the marketplace. Students are able to draw not only on their instructors, but also on visiting business experts from around the world who will meet with students to advise them on their business ideas and plans.
Local experts on business practices will visit the class periodically to provide technical information needed for successful business practices. In addition, some of the students will be experienced entrepreneurs who have run businesses in your local area for many years. Younger, less experienced students can learn from these classmates.
The model has been a great success in Rwanda and Uganda and is ready to be replicated in different nations of the world through the licensing facility initiated entirely by the Regent Center for Entrepreneurship.