Michael Goldberg, a visiting assistant professor at Case Western Reserve University’s Weatherhead School of Management, will start a Fulbright fellowship in Namibia on May 8. As a Fulbright Senior Specialist, Goldberg will work at Polytechnic of Namibia, helping to develop the Southern African country’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Polytechnic, which enrolls about 13,000 students, includes a graduate school of business and various other disciplines.
Goldberg plans to bring concepts that have resonated in many parts of the world through his popular massive open online course (MOOC), “Beyond Silicon Valley: Growing Entrepreneurship in Transitioning Economies,” presented on the Coursera platform. The course uses Cleveland and Ohio as a complex case study in how to establish a structure in which entrepreneurs can thrive.
In 2012, Goldberg was a Fulbright Scholar in Vietnam at the National Economics University in Hanoi.
“Every time I [travel], I am deepening my understanding of the unique challenges entrepreneurs have to build their companies,” he said. “It gives me the opportunity to share best practices from Cleveland and from other parts of the world. I’m sure I’ll take away some news ideas about ways to support startup companies.”
His MOOC, which began in April 2014, continued last fall and is being offered again this spring. He expects large participation from students and others in Namibia and neighboring countries because he will be there to take their questions and listen to their comments. Since its start, “Beyond Silicon Valley” has attracted about 45,000 students from 190 countries. The course has been translated in 12 languages, making it the most translated MOOC among all Coursera offerings.
Goldberg expects to conduct seminars on topics covered in the course, such as getting government to support entrepreneurship, attracting donors, attracting participation of non-governmental organizations and anchor institutions, accessing capital and mentoring.
Goldberg has conducted similar seminars on behalf of the United States in Cambodia, Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, Laos, Macedonia, Morocco, Myanmar, Spain, Tunisia and Vietnam. As a guest lecturer, he plans to help Polytechnic faculty with entrepreneurship course offerings.
After completing his collaboration with Polytechnic, Goldberg will lead workshops in Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe as part of the 2015 Social Entrepreneurship Bootcamp, which is supported by the U.S. Department of State. He also will conduct seminars based on his MOOC in Botswana.
Goldberg already has a good comfort level with Southern Africa: He lived and worked there for three years for the National Democratic Institute as a program officer. He also did political party training in Namibia in 1994.