Netherlands

Establishing the foundation of a vibrant Community of Practice across Africa and the Middle East together with YBI

OCHQ would like to express its gratitude to YBI for their support of the Orange Corners Programme in constructing a Community of Practice, which began in January 2021 and came to a successful close last April. YBI supports young people around the world to start, grow and sustain businesses. As a platform for members to exchange ideas, knowledge and insights, YIB collaborate in a way that catalyses entrepreneurs’ success and multiplies impact together with partners as Orange Corners. Together, we contribute to foster a culture of collaboration, sharing best-practice and driving innovation to achieve impact at scale. 

Communities of Practice (CoPs) are organised groups of people who share a concern or a passion for what they do and are eager to grow together. The idea which fuels CoPs is the exchange of experiences and knowledge between like-minded organisations in formal and informal settings, allowing the participants to develop themselves personally and professionally, positively impacting the organisations they work for.

With more than 20 years of experience, YBI’s cooperation with Orange Corners in building strong Communities of Practice and learning networks around youth entrepreneurship, is of great value. Their work has already impacted thousands of entrepreneurs and enhance the practice of entrepreneurship all over the world. Over the last two decades, YBI has built a very strong CoP with its members, who often refer to it as the YBI Family. YBI is now taking all this learning and experience to other organisations, helping them build strong CoPs that can decrease their learning curve and help them respond more rapidly to customer needs.

The Community of Practice Workshop delivered to Orange Corners assemble local and the OCHQ staff to foster mutual learning and increase programme quality for Orange Corners’ local service providers in Africa and the Middle East. CoP aims to support Orange Corners in creating a shared sense of community, putting forward a roadmap to serve as the basis for a new Community of Practice. CoP encourages networking between local service providers but also enables exchanging experiences and ideas as part of the workshops, in order to improve the quality of programmes they offer to entrepreneurs.

The topics for the workshops were selected by surveys which evaluated the needs and priorities of the providers and the challenges that entrepreneurs faced. The survey aims to identify which digital and online tools are already used by local service providers and which would be beneficial for future purposes, as well to assess the expectations of being part of the Orange Corners Community of Practice.

Due to COVID-19, the programme had to quickly adapt from the planned week of in-person Orange Corners Strategy Days, instead pivoting to a completely digital delivery method. Despite the challenges, YBI delivered a series of 6 workshops, resulting in a total of 13 hours. The workshops prioritised the most necessary elements needed for an effective community, including the skills needed for an effective interaction with peers, how to capitalise on existing community strengths, and how to overcome the most common challenges faced by such communities. The programmes created space for reflection and relationships, encouraging engagement and consequently the provision of collaborative opportunities, while ensuring the delivery of practical value through the presentation of relevant tools.

Following the Community of Practice training, a roadmap for the future and a learning session planner were developed and shared. The programme’s final workshop was together with Orange Corners HQ team, providing guidance and support on managing the next stage of the Community of Practice. All this future-facing work enables the community to continue to sustainably facilitate more discussion, innovation and collaboration.

Theodore Klouvas, Programme Manager at Orange Corners, says:

“With the excellent support of YBI we managed to turn our individual energies into synergies for the good of our mission, which is to support young entrepreneurs across our focus countries. A valuable community of shared values and aspirations.” 

The finalisation and further development of the Community of Practice of Orange Corners is to continued… Undoubtedly, the initiative of CoP underlines YBI’s effort to strengthen the valuable partnership for sustainable development together with Orange Corners.  

To find out more about Youth Business International’s work and missions, visit their website: www.youthbusiness.org

Kingdom of the Netherlands