Latif Mbengue

Ashoka Fellow
Fellow Since 2014


This profile was prepared when Latif Mbengue was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2014.
The New Idea
Latif is developing an inclusive approach to bring entrepreneurship-based and practical training to complement Senegal’s theoretical approach to university education. Following the principles of learning by doing, Latif’s work enables students to experiment in real time the same obstacles faced by entrepreneurs. With a safe space to practice and yet still gain hands-on experience, students take control of their own learning, acquiring skills that help them work in interdisciplinary teams, find creative ways to problem-solve, and build confidence in their own leadership and entrepreneurial endeavors.

Core to Latif’s work is having the students identify community partners with whom they can work on pressing projects with an economic purpose and social impact. The attitudes and skills that the students learn paves the way for them to succeed in the workforce after graduation, changing the status quo of the majority of Senegalese youth entering the workforce without any actual work experience to a generation of prepared, skilled, and resilient youth.

Using the international CSO, Enactus, as a strategic platform to launch his initiative, Latif works closely with universities, communities, government officials, media, and private sector organizations. Unique to Enactus Senegal is the work that Latif does to mobilize each of these key players. He brings them into three different initiatives—the University program which consists of an entrepreneurial competition of undergraduates, the Career Connection program for graduates, and the Entrepreneurship Development program. In so doing Latif plays a critical role as an activator. By enhancing the entrepreneurial mindset in students, communities, companies, and governments, Latif is creating hubs of innovation.

Already in 15 universities and high schools in Senegal, Latif has plans to replicate his work throughout Francophone Africa, starting with Côte d'Ivoire and Togo.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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