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LEADER Project

What is the LEADER Project?

The LEADER Project is a student-driven overseas economic development program. It was founded in 1991 by MBA students from the Richard Ivey School of Business with the mandate of empowering promising entrepreneurs in frontier markets to envision, launch, and/or scale new ventures. Through this approach LEADER aims to enable high-potential individuals to develop local business solutions that create opportunities for their communities.

Each year LEADER sends a team of Ivey students to a number of sites, where they teach foundational business administration and entrepreneurial skills to local entrepreneurs. Volunteer instructors from the MBA, HBA, MSc and PhD programs take part in a mutually beneficial experience that allows them to build a unique skill set.

Since its inception, LEADER has provided thousands of promising business people with the analytical tools and decision-making skills to improve local economic conditions. LEADER’s participants have gone on to launch successful entrepreneurial ventures in media, finance, professional services, and many other industries.

LEADER celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2016 and has a network of over 800 instructor alumni (LEADERites), all graduates of the Ivey Business School. Many of the LEADER alumni occupy some of the most senior roles at the world’s largest banks, management consulting firms, and NGOs, and credit the cross-cultural and leadership skills they developed while on LEADER for their professional success.

Currently, the program teaches business fundamentals to students during the day through an entrepreneurial focused curriculum, with individual consulting sessions in the afternoons. Involving students and business community leaders has allowed LEADER to remain relevant and to better meet the needs of the changing economic conditions within the countries where we operate. We look forward to hearing of more success from our participants in the future as they manage to turn their business venture dreams into a reality.

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2017 Executive Team

Cathy Chen (

Farah Kurji (

Joel Pipher (