The Entrepreneurs for Entrepreneurs association in Belgium is an initiative led by – the name gives it away – entrepreneurs, who wish to stimulate business and sustainable growth in countries with developing economies. African Drive, a charitable enterprise supported by Materialise, had the honor of receiving the Entrepreneurs for Entrepreneurs Trophy last week!
Started in 2012, the Benin Summer School is one of the social initiatives started up by Materialise. Located in Papané, Benin, the idea behind the program is to select the three best students of the region – and then support these students financially throughout their university studies. The goal is to stimulate the local economy by giving its brightest young citizens the tools to build up useful businesses that last. We work together with a local NGO, Hubi and Vinciane, who helps the two volunteers from Materialise work with the students for two weeks on a project they need to develop and present in order to get selected as part of the final three. Meet Jonas and Dorina, who volunteered to teach the summer school this year.
African Drive is an initiative that was founded three years ago by a group of Belgian entrepreneurs led by our CEO, Fried Vancraen. With the aim of creating a safe and dependable method of transportation for the inhabitants of Benin, African Drive’s affiliate, Baobab Express, started providing locals with a secure, low-cost way of getting from city to city.
You’ve heard the cliché of the coveted internship that turns out to actually be merely coffee-bringing and document-printing with a few hours of uninspired sitting at a desk. Charlotte’s internship, however, was nothing like that. In the last semester of her Masters studies in management, Charlotte Gréant joined Materialise as an intern to take charge of a social engagement project in Benin, West Africa: the Baobab Express. The Baobab Express provides safe, reliable and comfortable transportation services to Beninese people, filling in a gap left by sparse public transportation and prohibitively expensive private transport. Charlotte tells us how the Baobab Express project reached public approval and financial success after meeting an initially tentative reception.
Now that you've read our previous blog post and learned about the Benin Summer School and how the 8 students in the summer school were selected, here’s a bit more information on some of the projects a few of the students are working on.
In our previous blog post, we told you about our initiatives in Benin and even promised we would tell you about African Drive one day. Well, the suspense is over and now you can read all about the African Drive and its first project, the Baobab Express.