June 15, 2020

Transformational Change Around the Globe

Annette Comeau Annette Comeau

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Twenty-five years ago, LearnSphere was created by a group of visionaries who saw the potential to build an organization that would centralize the knowledge, skills and expertise required to build better business capacity. From the beginning, there was a desire for LearnSphere to have an impact both here at home and internationally.

For almost 20 years, LearnSphere has exported unique learning and development solutions to developing countries to help them achieve resilient and equitable growth. Our expertise has contributed to reducing poverty and inequality – especially for women, youth and disadvantaged populations – by helping to create better skills for the future.

We’ve worked on international projects with Global Affairs Canada (GAC, formerly CIDA), Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) and the Organisation international de la Francophonie (OIF). Our projects have focused on workforce development and support to SMEs.

LearnSphere’s efforts to help SMEs rapidly improve their skills, positioning, knowledge and performance to become part of supply chains has recently attracted international attention. Our model is adaptable across industrial sectors – notably mining, agriculture, adaptation to climate change, oil and gas, and green technologies – and has found application in Canada and around the world.

LearnSphere’s Concept Proposal Chosen by Global Affairs Canada

Recently, LearnSphere’s concept proposal was selected by Global Affairs, among close to 200 received from across Canada, for the development of a detailed proposal in response to a pilot initiative for Canadian small and medium organizations (SMOs). The Government of Canada is dedicating $100 million to a five-year pilot initiative targeted at engaging Canadian SMOs, such as LearnSphere, in more international development work. This initiative seeks to engage Canadian SMOs in international assistance efforts in areas consistent with Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy.

Our proposed five-year project would contribute to poverty reduction by empowering a minimum of 1,000 female entrepreneurs and their families with the technical skills, business strategies, financial capability, and market access needed to integrate and succeed in local supply chains.

Our project would strengthen the capacity of a local, private technical and vocational training institution to deliver necessary business skills and provide business supports to help women-owned businesses prosper. The project would also work directly with buyers to improve gender equality and nondiscrimination in local procurement practices. This initiative was developed collaboratively with our long-term trusted partner in Cameroon, l’Institut universitaire de la Côte (IUC, formerly ISTDI).

For far too long, women in Africa have faced discrimination and inequalities in the workforce that negatively impact their families, communities and countries. Economic empowerment is one of the most effective routes through which women can achieve their potential and advance their human rights. By strengthening the role of women as entrepreneurs and economic stakeholders, and enabling them to contribute to economic growth through decent work, we can help them become powerful agents of change.

We’re excited about this potential opportunity to share our work more widely. This is only one example of the work LearnSphere is pursuing abroad.