The DELab Experience

The preparation for DELab went on for months, yet delivering the intensive six-day social entrepreneurship curriculum went by in a flash. The Flame Tree Initiative team arrived in Thyolo a day before DELab was set to start. Thyolo - pronounced “cho-lo” - is a town located in the southern region of Malawi where the Malawi University of Science and Technology (MUST) is situated. MUST is a sprawling, relatively new university nestled between farmlands with a gorgeous mountainous backdrop. This beautiful university was our workplace for a week.

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Right on the very first day, the participants of DELab quickly became acquainted with one another and dove right into developing their business ideas. DELab’s curriculum provided them with the basics of customized, development-focused innovation which allowed them to increase their business acumen while they simultaneously narrowed and refined their ideas. The DELab topics covered different facets of launching and successfully operating a social enterprise, from writing mission and vision statements to participatory market analysis. Six MUST faculty members and three Flame Tree Initiative fellows assisted in delivering the program, providing the participants with expert knowledge and advise from the field.

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Of course, learning wasn’t confined in a classroom setting. The participants enjoyed group activities that enabled them to practice applying the concepts they learned.

At the end of the week, they were armed with resources and plans that they can integrate into their social enterprise. In addition to that, this tight-knit group formed a community that they can rely on for years to come as they continue their social entrepreneurship journey.

We can’t wait to see what is in store for this group!

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