Train-the-Trainer: How 150+ NGOs Learned to Eradicate Poverty with Social Entrepreneurship

Train-the-Trainer: How 150+ NGOs Learned to Eradicate Poverty with Social Entrepreneurship

Street Business School is on a mission to stamp out extreme poverty by lifting up a new generation of business entrepreneurs, and we aren’t doing it alone. We coach NGOs to use our ready-to-deliver social entrepreneurship training program to help those they serve build confidence and lift themselves from poverty by running their own businesses. While the majority of beneficiaries SBS NGO partners serve are women, 15% are men.

Our program is based on nearly two decades of experience, and it is proven to work: women and men who go through Street Business School’s social entrepreneurship training program with one of our more than 150 NGO partners increase their incomes by more than 160 percent on average. Together with our partners around the world, our social entrepreneurship training programs will lift 1 million people out of poverty.

We train Trainers

 We rolled out our Train-the-Trainer Immersion Workshops for NGOs in 2016 as a way to rapidly scale our mission to eradicate poverty through social entrepreneurship.

The eight-day Train-the-Trainer workshops are adapted from our proven social entrepreneurial training curriculumand are based on our 17 years of experience training people living in poverty to become small business entrepreneurs. Representatives from 150+ organizations across 25 countries have taken the training so far, with 352+ SBS Lead Coaches now certified to implement SBS in their communities.

Immersive and engaging

Our trainings are dynamic, immersive and hands-on, an approach academic studies — and our own experience — indicate improves knowledge retention and build engagement.

For small business entrepreneurs that our Partner NGOs train, that could mean training Record-keeping and Bookkeeping with a memory game: An SBS Trainer packs up some necessities for a trip to the village (a bit of cash, a bottle of water, some sunscreen, a handkerchief) and adds them to a backpack one by one. The Trainer then asks the attendees to recall everything by memory, and when they inevitably forget most items, it underscores the importance of recording in a way attendees are likely to remember. “Lessons like these are practical and hands-on, and in ways that local people can understand,” our CEO Devin Hibbard says. “They know what its like to pack for a trip to the village.”

We take the same approach when we train our Partner NGOs’ Trainers — from using a treasure hunt to demonstrate market research to playing a balloon game to demonstrate great customer service. “During the eight days, the partners’ Trainers are transformed, because we train them in the same unique way we train beneficiaries,” says Chris Harper, Director of Global Training for SBS, who co-authored our Train-the-Trainer workshops. “When some training organizations say ‘our trainings are experiential,’ what they really mean is they break up into groups and do group work, and that’s obviously not what we’re talking about when we say experimental. We are a heck of a creative group. It is extremely unique.”

Putting myself in their shoes has changed how I think about the content, and how I will teach it to the women I serve.” – SBS Immersion Workshop attendee and Certified Coach

How it works

Over the course of the immersive eight-day workshop, the Trainers-in-training touch on the following topics.

 The SBS way: SBS was born out of a chance encounter in Uganda that catalyzed a more than 17-year movement to lift women and their families from poverty. Our Train-the-Trainer workshops start with an overview of how we began and — most importantly — the core philosophy behind what we do, which is to build people’s confidence and instill independence and self-reliance that will last a lifetime.

Our curriculum: After covering the basics, we dive into the eight modules of the SBS social entrepreneurship curriculum and talk about how to train their organization’s beneficiaries the basics of business entrepreneurship in a fun, engaging and memorable way. We also demonstrate and train the Trainers how to help build their beneficiaries’ self-confidence. All of this is in pursuit of our core formula for success: Business training + confidence building + graduation = sustainability.

 Pointers for strong and successful orientations: Once NGOs recruit community members who may be interested in business entrepreneurship training, it’s time to hold an orientation to tell them what it’s all about. We show Trainers exactly how to successfully explain the business entrepreneurship training clearly to help beneficiaries decide if they should attend, which serves to minimize dropouts and maximize impact.

A crash course in coaching: Along with group trainings, small business entrepreneurs who go through SBS get three one-on-one coaching sessions at their home or business. We teach our NGO partners to confidently deliver one-on-one coaching in the special SBS way, while adapting if it fit the people they serve.

Secrets to our success for recruitment: With the foundational knowledge in hand, we train participants to tell our story and talk about the value of business entrepreneurship training with women and people in their communities, to encourage them to join the Partner’s SBS Entrepreneurship Trainings.

Implementation: Many of our Partner NGOs’ missions do not have missions that focus directly on eradicating poverty, rather they’re primarily focused on other issues like clean water, protecting children or preventing deforestation, etc. Poverty intersects with these issues, but these groups don’t work directly in poverty and most of their funding and capacity isn’t based there. Yet, because they know that increasing the income of those that they serve would in fact support the Partner in reaching their mission, we help them to integrate everything they learned into their organizations, and to customize SBS to fit their needs and complement what they already do so well.

Using the SBS Impact Tracker: Our Partner NGOs can easily track the impact of their social entrepreneurship trainings using an offline device and our custom-made monitoring and evaluation (M&E) system, the SBS Impact Tracker.

Graduation: Graduation is a vital component of the SBS entrepreneurial training: It marks the occasion of business entrepreneurs becoming independent and starting a new life. We train our Partners how to effectively run a grand and successful graduation event in a way that builds confidence, instills pride and inspires graduates to tackle their next step. Not surprisingly, we also host a surprise, unique graduation for the Trainers that attend our Train-the-Trainer Workshops, where we all dance, laugh and celebrate their future as SBS Lead Coaches.

 Staying in contact: After graduation, our Partner NGO change-makers can take advantage of six one-on-one coaching sessions with an SBS expert trainer to help them with their implementation. As well, they also become part of the SBS Global Network, where they can connect with like-minded groups that are fighting poverty and catalyzing development around the world.

Membership in the network includes capacity-building Skype calls and workshops, private Facebook and WhatsApp groups, and informative quarterly newsletters to help NGOs improve funding, networking and impact.

It’s a great thing to be able to network with other organizations from around the world for a lot of areas beyond SBS,” Harper says. “Our partners often end up working together for other projects.”


Not just for local organizations: How we tailor our approach for large partners

At SBS we are passionate about giving local leaders the training they need to fight poverty in their own communities, but small local organizations are not our only partners.

We also partner directly with large, international NGOs in a variety of creative and customized partnership approaches, so that we can get SBS into the hands of even more global change-makers and thus jointly, exponentially increase all of our impact.

These creative models include a range of options, from co-branding our curriculum, to helping them build their own customized curriculum that can be private labeled, to training their Training Department staff as SBS Master Trainers who can offer our 8-day Workshop to all of the international Partners, etc.

Supporting our partners when it matters most

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to put all of us to the ultimate test, we are finding new ways to support our partners, so they can continue to deliver SBS social entrepreneurship training in their communities creatively and appropriately within their own government regulations. With millions being forced back into extreme poverty due to the pandemic, this work is needed now more than ever.

If you’re interested in learning more about partnering with SBS to deliver poverty-eradication and business entrepreneurship programming to the communities your organization serves, we want to hear from you! Email us, and let’s come together to watch poverty go up in smoke and ignite opportunity in 1 million people worldwide.

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