Alibaba Group’s training and education arm, Alibaba Business School, opened applications this week for the first edition of its Netpreneur Masterclass in Europe, starting with Italy, Spain and Germany.
The six-week online training programs – which officially kicks off in May – will draw from Alibaba’s experience to offer entrepreneurs and business owners the knowledge and tools to thrive in the digital economy.
Tailored to each market, the modules span topics including the best practices and trends within China’s digital landscape, exclusive insights into the journey and development of Alibaba, as well as some frameworks for harnessing technology and innovation within organizations. Local partners supporting the initiative include Netcomm, the Italian digital consortium, Spain’s national trade agency ICEX and German e-commerce association Bevh.
Previously, the masterclass was offered in Southeast Asia and Africa, but it has taken on an added significance this year, as part of Alibaba’s push to expand the program digitally to help more companies – particularly small and medium-sized businesses – recover and grow following Covid-19, said Rodrigo Cipriani Foresio, Alibaba Group’s general manager for Southern Europe.
“For the entrepreneurs – or rather, the ‘netpreneurs’ – of today and tomorrow, the key word is adaptation, to a world where digital is disrupting production, organization and consumption models,” he said.
Karl Wehner, managing director of Alibaba Group in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Turkey and Eastern Europe, added that the agile use of digital tools played an important role in helping companies and economies remain resilient amid the outbreak. “That’s why the Alibaba Business School masterclass is not just about tools, but also about leadership and vision.”
The global pandemic has further highlighted the need for digital transformation, noted Zhang Yu, Alibaba Group partner and vice president.
“So we have evolved our program to a mix of online and offline to be able to reach more entrepreneurs and business owners quickly,” Yu said. “With this program we hope to share our experience with participants from across markets and enable them to transform their businesses and in turn, their larger economy, in these times.”
Alibaba Business School was established in 2008 by Alibaba Group founder Jack Ma in partnership with Hangzhou Normal University, Ma’s alma mater, to cultivate the next generation of global entrepreneurs.
It also conducts the eFounders Fellowship program in partnership with the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, through which the company has pledged to train 1,000 entrepreneurs from emerging markets over five years.
In 2018, ABS launched the Global E-Commerce Talent Network, as a way to further empower young people in the digital era to create positive business and social impact. The following year, Jack Ma’s namesake foundation also debuted the Africa’s Business Heroes prize competition, awarding $1 million a year for the next 10 years to support Africa-based small businesses, grassroots communities and women-founded enterprises in the next decade.
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