CERAP Scholars Program

In 2014, the SIPS Fund teamed up with Centre de Recherche et d'Action pour la Paix (Center for Research and Action for Peace) in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, to directly link Georgetown University undergraduate students with budding entrepreneurs in West Africa.  Under the direction of Professor François Kaboré, S.J., fellows spend four weeks consulting with policy makers and working directly with inventors. Students learned about the challenges that entrepreneurs in the region face, and they have the opportunity to develop their own solutions for both institutional dilemmas and project designs.

CERAP Scholars 2014

Alyssa Staats (SFS ’15) – Alyssa is a rising senior in the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service pursuing an International Economics major and an African studies certificate. She will be examining the intersections of gender, culture, innovation, and entrepreneurship in the Burkinabé context. With her research and data analysis, she wants to identify a few key common barriers faced by female entrepreneurs and innovators in West Africa and suggest policy solutions to facilitate women’s business establishment. To answer this, she will investigate the barriers to female entrepreneurship and innovation in the Ivory Coast by conducting a series of oral interviews with female entrepreneurs and innovators affiliated with CERAP regarding the major economic, social, and political institutional challenges they have faced in establishing their businesses either formally or informally or both. She will ask questions regarding current, prior, and anticipated future challenges, and she hope to obtain a wide data set that includes individuals of varying success rates. Furthermore, she will ask entrepreneurs, policymakers, and/or CERAP academics about some perceived solutions to these challenges. Using her data, she hopes to develop an impartial collection of some of the major barriers that aspiring Ivorian microenterprise-women face and provide some insight as to potential methods to diminish them.

Sarah Mock (SFS ’15) – Growing up on a farm in rural Wyoming, agriculture is in Sarah’s blood. She didn’t realize how unique and important this passion would be until she arrived at Georgetown, where she found herself gravitating towards classes and activities tied to agriculture, the environment, and rural development. She envisions a three-pronged project on creating incentives for sustainable agricultural innovation. The outcome for her project will be a policy recommendation on the role of the private-sector in stimulating and disseminating social innovations in this sector. With the challenges that this region faces with regards to climate change, she wants to look at social innovation relating to the agricultural sector, and thus working with innovators in the that sector would be optimal. She wants to focus not only on physical inventions, but also on technological innovation in terms of management practices for land, soil, water, crops and/or livestock. She will also take a closer look at the policy-level resources available in terms of agricultural extension, but from the innovators perspective. By understanding the challenges faced by individual innovators in terms of protecting, marketing and distributing, and being compensated for their innovation, both in the public and private sectors, she will be able to make a policy recommendation outlining the role of private institutions and specific private incentive programs in encouraging social innovation in the agricultural sector.

Read more about Sarah and Alyssa under our "Portfolio" tab!