Is 6 Weeks helping African entrepreneurs good for my CV?

I have been offered a place on a scheme called Balloon Kenya where you help tackle poverty in Kenya through entrepreneurship. (

I want to take part however it will cost me around £2750 ($4500) in total and I was wondering if it is worth it as I don’t have much money as a student but could just about afford it at a push.

I would like to know whether you think ID employers will value this and the skills I will learn. The basic concept is that the first week is an intense learning course on entrepreneurship and business basics and then the other 5 weeks are generating business ideas with Kenyan small business owners and entrepreneurs and testing out business ideas in the hopes of ultimately leaving them the start of a business which they can continue to operate and grow when we leave.

Another perspective is that my social skills are not as good as the maybe should be and that something like this might help develop my skills and make me a more rounded person. As well as this, the industrial placement I have lined up for this coming year at university is not very strong, its 6 months study abroad and 6 months working a design engineering placement which isn’t really the area of design I want to get into so doing this volunteering thing could help strengthen my cv?

The area of design I want to get involved in, in the future would be consultancy work designing consumer products, or designing products which have a social impact, think ‘laptop for every child’ sort of projects. I am also interested in starting my own small business in the future.

It seems that the question should be whether you think you will benefit from it enough to warrant the cost, not what your future potential employers will think of the line in your CV.

What employers will think of it after would likely be impacted more by what you make of it. Through your presentation in your portfolio or an interview of what you did and what you learned, you can make it valuable to them. That is of course assuming you get a lot out of the experience and do learn a lot.

Unless the volunteer opportunity is well in-line with your current career goals and seems worth the money, I think the time and money could be invested other places that are going to help you get ahead. I’ve heard mixed feedback from people who have gone to Africa on similar type programs (setting up cellular-based networks, teaching people internet)…mostly that it wasn’t as advertised and the front-end of the business (taking your money) is more thought out than the back end (accomplishing something there).

These might be good people to ask about Africa projects - - I saw they are speaking at the upcoming Core77 Conference as well.

Thank you both for your advice. I am thinking of going for it and taking part. I think it should help me develop as a person and opportunities like this will be harder to take part in when I get older and graduate. I want to get into design for social change when I am older so I think that even though the programme is focused on entrepreneurship, the fact that I have still volunteered in Africa should help show my passion for social issues if I apply to design firms that look to make a social impact. The scheme is reputable and has good reviews and a student from my design school was on it last year. Any other opinions or advice would be greatly appreciated.