Celebrating groundbreaking online course for businesswomen across the world

Two leading figures at the University are celebrating their pivotal role in helping design and deliver a groundbreaking online course for female entrepreneurs across the world.

Groundbreaking online course for businesswomen across the world May 2018

As the owners of small businesses, Professor of Entrepreneurial Practice, Sarah Underwood, and Head of the Digital Education Service, Carol Elston, were well placed to support and lead the bid when Leeds was invited to tender to support the Goldman Sachs Foundation with its 10,000 Women project.

10,000 Women is an innovative online learning curriculum designed to support women from around the world to grow their businesses. The University was successful in securing the contract against stiff competition from international organisations. Work started on the project in September 2017 and went live on 21 May 2018.

Introduced through a two-week module, 10,000 Women helps female entrepreneurs assess their business growth potential. Following the introductory module, eligible applicants are invited, free of charge, to participate in a further ten modules, which explore opportunities for growth, financial planning, marketing, leadership and negotiation skills. On completion of the curriculum, participants join a growing family of Goldman Sachs Foundation alumni, providing an ongoing support network.

Professor Underwood, from Leeds University Business School, played a leading role in the design of the curriculum and development of the content, working closely with a team of academics from the UK, US and India. The academic team drew on its experience of working on previous successful Goldman Sachs Foundation projects, providing face-to-face learning sessions.

The contract to design, develop and deliver the online learning modules was awarded to the University’s Digital Education Service. Under the project leadership of Carol Elston, a dedicated team of learning and development professionals worked closely with the academics to design an innovative online learning journey, drawing on its experience of developing cutting-edge services.

The design and development leads – Angela Holmes, Gareth Walker and Ben Pierce – worked collaboratively to ensure interactive learning was combined with international case studies and theory sessions. Filming teams travelled to India, South America and China to interview and video women from a range of businesses to ensure content was relevant and peer-informed. A series of innovative interactive exercises were developed to complement and enhance the learning.

10,000 Women is being offered in partnership with Coursera, the world’s biggest online course provider, with more than 25 million registered learners.

By working on this prestigious project, all those involved have developed their skills and abilities and will be ensuring the high standards achieved are reflected in all of the University’s future online learning projects.

Professor Neil Morris, Director of Digital Learning at Leeds, said: “The Digital Education Service is proud to have a leading role in the creation of this groundbreaking course.

“The University of Leeds has been proud to partner with Goldman Sachs and Goldman Sachs Foundation since 2010 to provide business and management education to ambitious entrepreneurs. We now look forward to continuing to work with the Goldman Sachs Foundation and Coursera to ensure the success of the course, and to see the positive impact of the course on female entrepreneurs globally.”

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