Innovate for Change is a 12-day social entrepreneurship project which ran from August 1st to August 12th and was co-organized by the American Chamber of Commerce in Tajikistan, Tcell, Dushanbe Sheraton Hotel, and American Councils for International Education. It is designed to teach university students about social entrepreneurship, management, and leadership.
During the first half of the event, university students attended lectures and seminars given by entrepreneurs and leaders in the private and non-profit sectors. In the second half, students broke into two groups to work on consulting projects with a social impact focus. One group worked with Tcell at their headquarters, while the other worked with the Dushanbe Sheraton Hotel at their facility. Each company gave their group of students a task or problem, which the students had to complete or solve with a focus on social impact. The exercise gave students the opportunity to serve as consultants, offering fresh and innovative perspectives on business. Companies, in turn, were provided the chance to hear insights directly from local youth.
The Innovate for Change program started in 2015 as a US Embassy-funded project, in partnership with Tcell and UNDP. This year, however, the program was funded by the private sector—Tcell, Dushanbe Sheraton Hotel, American Chamber of Commerce in Tajikistan—with a portion of funding from the US-Central Asia Education Foundation, a scholarship program that sends students to study business at KIMEP and AUCA. Participating students were from all over Tajikistan and enrolled at KIMEP (Kazakhstan), AUCA (Kyrgyzstan), and various universities in Tajikistan.
The closing ceremony was held on August 12th at Dushanbe Sheraton Hotel, where students and instructors received certificates. Speaking at the closing ceremony were Elisabeth I. Millard, US Ambassador to Tajikistan; Toni Toshev, General Manager of Dushanbe Sheraton Hotel; and Mindaugas Ubartas, CEO of Tcell.