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Community engagement makes business sense

Victoria University students and African immigrants who operate a business, will work together in an initiative that has seen the university awarded a Community Wellbeing grant by the Ian Potter Foundation.

The $54,000 grant will fund the Tailored Learning Project which was inspired by the observation that many new immigrants from Africa, unable to find employment, start their own micro-businesses, but these ventures often struggle because of a lack of business knowledge and unfamiliarity with Australian context.

Victoria University is developing a program tailored to the needs of business operators and delivered by VU students of African background.

Partnering with VU is the African Australian Small Business Association comprised of members involved in a range of retail and service businesses.

“We are committed to the success of small business starters in our community. However our resources and expertise are very limited, thus we welcome this project,” says the association president Mohamed Abdulrahman.

Twenty business people and six students will be recruited for the 12-month project.

“It will give the students valuable real-world business experience and go beyond the traditional offering of business training,” says Dr Rafael Paguio, senior lecturer at Victoria University College of Business.

“They will develop skills such as leadership, teamwork, communication, and self-confidence which will improve their graduate employability,” he says.

It is envisioned that the project will be ongoing. Victoria University is seeking interested stakeholders to provide logistical and financial support. 

For more information, contact Dr Paguio on 9919 4636 or rafael.paguio@vu.edu.au

Media contact: Beverley Johanson, 03 9919 5561, 0407 311 272 or beverley.johanson@vu.edu.au

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