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MSc Entrepreneurship students help foundation Wakibi

23 August 2021
During the second semester of the academic year 2020/2021, four MSc Entrepreneurship students (joint degree of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and University of Amsterdam) executed a voluntary project for the microfinancing foundation Wakibi. Wakibi is a foundation that supports entrepreneurs worldwide with small loans (from €25), especially in emerging economies and developing countries. These loans are used to further develop existing small businesses. The repaid loans can be used to support other entrepreneurs as well. Wakibi has already supported thousands of entrepreneurs (and therefore also their families), all over the world. One clear indicator of Wakibi’s success is the high repayment rate of the loans, thus creating revolving funds.

Under the supervision of Professor Enno Masurel, master students Mojgan Pourshirazi, Stephan Aykaz, Shabab Salehin and Guus Padding aimed to improve Wakibi’s brand awareness and to acquire direct funds. The team consisted of people with very diverse backgrounds and nationalities, which created an environment for fruitful collaboration. Mojgan Pourshirazi, Iranian national and Digital Innovator at ABN AMRO: “We voluntarily helped Wakibi because we believe in this organization and its motive, and it fits perfectly with our entrepreneurial spirit”. Ultimately, a consultancy report with many observations, opportunities and implementations was presented by the students to representatives of Wakibi. Examples of the opportunities identified by the students are to increase brand awareness through potential collaborations with business incubators and to use a smart algorithm on the website. 

Wakibi's cause is inspiring and supported by many people, however Wakibi is not really known by the general public. Guus Padding, founder of Vega Express: ‘’To further increase Wakibi's impact, spreading the word about its cause is extremely important, a loan as small as €25 can really help and make a difference for a small business entrepreneur in an emerging economy or developing country”. 

Supervisor Enno Masurel was very happy with the contribution by the team of students: “With this report, the students really showed their capabilities and their commitment for a good cause”. He is also very pleased with Wakibi as a partner in his network; one of his favorite business gifts for e.g. guest lecturers is a Wakibi voucher of €25 that can be spent by the guest lecturer.

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