Darren Jacklin is helping break down entrepreneurial borders.
Jacklin, formerly of Vernon, is using his experience as a professional speaker and corporate trainer to reach out to a budding group of business people in West Africa.
He recently visited the Van Duyse Leadership Institute, an organization started by a friend’s family in Cotonou, Benin, to deliver entrepreneurship training to a group of 26 students.
He taught a seminar in advanced results training. It is part of a three-year program that helps the students learn about business strategies, leveraging, delegation, leadership revenue generation and fiscal responsibility.
Given the widespread use of the Internet and online transaction, Jacklin sees potential for the students to reach a global market.
“As long as you’ve got access to a computer and Internet connection, you can create a website or a blog where you can sell a product or service or opportunity on there,” said Jacklin, now based in Vancouver.
Participants ranges in ages 18-30 and come from four West African countries – Benin, Togo, Ghana and Ivory Coast. The institute also reaches out to community groups in villages near Cotonou, formerly a French colony.
Jacklin marvels at the students’ approach to learning, and to life in general.
“When you tell them to do something, they just execute on it. That’s their mind-set and belief system,” he said.
“They’re really hungry. They’ll study until they know it and can apply it.
“In North America, we’re always trying to get things more efficient to save time. Over there, they have none of that stuff, but they have a lot more freedom and time. They spend a lot more time in social gatherings and communication with each other.”
On completion of the three-year program, the intention is for students to utilize their newfound business skills to secure funding for the ventures.
Using a hypothetical situation, Jacklin foresees African crafters building wealth from their products by selling and distributing them online, rather than simply bartering them.
Jacklin has plans to return to Benin in six months. Meanwhile, he is keeping up with their training through Skype sessions.