From 2016 to 2019 and with the collaboration of Initiative Foundation, Gateway Institute conducted entrepreneurship development training for the Somali community in St. Cloud, Minnesota. The eight weeks of training covered executive summary, business description, product and services, operation plan, management and organization, marketing plan, financial plan, and appendices.
Entrepreneurship: Start a business, grow your business, Finance your business.
Starting a business means making serious and difficult decisions; however, our clients don’t have to do it alone. Our entrepreneurship training is culturally appropriate business training which brought the resources they need to get their business started and thrive. Whether they’re sitting down to write their business plan, wondering about legal obligations, finding a market niche or researching your financing options, or financial education and management, they’ll find the information they need right here.
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The Somali Community and Temple Israel organized an interfaith, intercultural event that will create connections, build relationships, and enhance discussion about our narratives on Jewish and Somali communities shared stories of religion, culture, and tradition. The event which was Nefesh Shabbat Service took place at Temple Israel on Friday, April 15, 2016, in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
During the Nefesh Shabbat Service, there were prayer for peace by Imam Roble; Shabbat Candle Blessing by Kiki Alexander, Deborah Gollin, Olivia Gollin, Vanessa Gollin, and Joan Jaquish; Prayer of Freedom by Abdi Phenomenal; Prayer of Strength by Ikram Osman; D'rash: One Women's Narrative for Hodan Hasan; Response: A Bridge Toward Understanding by Andy Luger, U.S. Attorney of Minnesota; Board Blessing by Bob Ketroser; Aleinu, Kaddish by Rabbi Zimmerman, and Benediction by Rabbi Zimmerman.
During the event, Tarabi Jama, the Executive Director of Gateway Institute met leaders from the Somali community and the Temple Israel to discuss the important of building such a bridge toward understanding that connects between the two communities. Mr. Jama also met Andy Luger, U.S. Attorney of Minnesota to congratulate him on his fordward thinking manner.
On Thursday, March 16, 2016, Tarabi Jama, the Executive Director of Gateway Institute with other community leaders welcomed the President of Somalis Puntland Government, Dr. Abdiwali Mohamed Ali Gaas to Minnesota. President Gaas, a former professor of economy at the University of Buffalo, New York back to Somalia several years ago to contribute his experience on governance and institutional building. Gaas was appointed as the Prime Minister of The Federal Republic of Somalia in 2011-2012 in a time where Somalia transforming from a transitional to a permanent government. On August 8, 2014, Prime Minister Gaas was elected as President of Puntland State of Somalia, an autonomous state in northeastern Somalia established in 1998 after the civil war in1990.
President Gaas came to Minnesota to meet the Somali community and share the coming parliamentary and presidential election in Somalia scheduled in August 2016. President Gaas also met Minnesota house and senate leaders in St. Paul, Minneapolis city councils, and other public officials to talk about the current situation in Somalia in particular the Puntland State of Somalia. He talked about the political and the security challenges facing his nation especially threats posed by al-Shabab and ISIS.
The Executive Director of Gateway Institute, Tarabi Jama shared with President Gaas the challenges and opportunities that the Somali community in Minnesota faces on a daily basis. President Gaas impressed the Somali community's role in Minnesota, their political influence, and the businesses they accomplished. President Gaas highlighted the role of the Somali Diasporas and what they can contribute to rebuilding Somalia.
On Tuesday, March 8, 16, Gateway Institute organized a welcome dinner for Congressman Abdulkadir Hashi of The Federal Government of Somalia. Rep. Hashi who is a Somali Canadian back to his native country several years ago to assist local institutions.
The Executive Director of Gateway Institute, Tarabi Jama welcomed Rep. Hashi to Minneapolis and talked about the role of Gateway Institue in regard to promoting and increasing CIVIC ENGAGEMENT activities in targeted neighborhoods densely populated by Somali immigrants and New Americans, and engage members of the Somali community in civic life, community organizing, advocacy, and voter registration, education, and mobilization. Mr. Jama also highlighted that his organization help in building the skills, knowledge, and experience that enable people to effectively participate in the democratic process. He said, "We are hoping that by explaining the importance of voting in the election that more people, especially from within the Somali immigrant community, will participate in civic engagement and some will take the initiative and develop leadership skills to rally their respective immigrant communities to vote which will then lead to an increase in opportunities for representation of underrepresented communities (immigrants).
Rep. Hashi talked the next Parliamentary election in Somalia scheduled to be held in 2016, enhancing the system of federalism that Somalia adopted, and the role of government on defeating terrorist groups like al-Shabab and ISIS fighting in Somalia. In addition, Rep. Hashi talked the important of civic engagement.
Former Minister of Planning and International Cooperation and current Congressman Said Abdullahi Deni arrived in Minnesota Friday evening, October 30, 2015, to meet the Somali community in Minnesota. Rep. Deni visited various places in the metropolitan areas that the community lives in and has business including Somali Malls in Minneapolis, Minnesota's main commercial city. He was greeted by cheering crowds holding Somali and American flags at Minneapolis/St. Paul International airport. Rep. Deni met members of the Somali Diasporas in Minnesota including community organizations, religious leaders, women organizations, and Puntland Diasporas Forum. The Representative briefed the current developments in Somalia, the upcoming elections in 2016, and the strategic partnership between the United States and Somalia.
He also met the Executive Director of Gateway Institute for Research and Development, a think tank organization that provides community development, entrepreneurship training, and business innovation to low-income communities in Minnesota to transform their lives for the better. He also visited Saint Louis Park Public Schools in the state of Minnesota and met superintendent Rob Metz, Tami Reynolds, the Director of Special Services, and Scott Meyer, the High School Principal on which Rep. Deni talked about his role of education during the Somali civil war in the 90s. He further pointed out the notion that every child should be guaranteed access to a world-class education. Rep. Deni toured High School facilities and met District staff, teachers, and students.
Rep. Deni, also met Kurt Daudt, Speaker of the House and Minnesota House of Representatives on Thursday, November 5, 2015, and talked about how to cooperate between the Minnesota State and Somalia. The two legislators also spoke about the need to continue the mutual friendship. On Friday, November 8, 2015, Rep. Deni was a keynote speaker at the Somalia event wherein he highlighted challenges in Somalia, the role for the Somali leadership to be above narrow personal and political interest and to lead the country for the greater good of Somalia. He praised the progress made and noted opportunities missed; he also highlighted solutions to the current crisis in Somalia must come from Somali themselves.
Rep. Deni was optimistic about Somali Americans and overcoming the challenges they faced. They thanked His Excellency for the service and sacrifice he has made for the greater good of Somalia. Prior to his arrival, Rep. Deni stopped by other US states including New York and the State of Ohio where he met members from the Somali Diaspora. Rep. Deni has been a member of the Federal Parliament of Somalia since 2012.
On Friday, April 10th, 15, Gateway Institute hosted a community meeting for guest speaker Emily Baxter, the Director of "WE ARE ALL CRIMINALS", "a non-profit, non-partisan organization that seeks to inspire empathy and ignite social change through personal stories of crime, privilege, justice, and injustice, disrupting the barriers that separate us". Emily is a former fellow at the University of Minnesota Law School’s Robina Institute of Criminal Law and Criminal Justice.
Although the vast majority of employers and the vast majority of employers, legislators, landlords, and many other entities decide the character of an individual because of his/her criminal record, the project of "WE ARE ALL CRIMINALS" deals with the other 75% of us who have the luxury of living without an official reminder of a past mistake. The meeting took place at Sherman Associates, Longfellow Station Apt in Minneapolis, MN. For more information, please please visit http://www.weareallcriminals.com.
In Novemer 2013, Getaway Institute conducted Tax Justice Advocacy on charcoal production and trade in Puntland to introduce Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) and Solar Steam Cooking Energy as an alternative source of energy. This project funded by the Diakonia Sweden. The project matters because a number of studies pointed out excessive deforestation and soil erosion causes overgrazing and violence. The proposed objective of the study was to advocate high taxation on charcoal production and trade.
Our goals and objectives of this study were to convey the level of environmental disaster on our natural resources and rangeland areas in particular. It gave citizens the opportunity to demand a razing tax on charcoal production and trade for protecting their environment. The assessment was a combination of literature review and inquiry to collect data to analyze alternative energy instead of using charcoal. That project benefited around 200 people in Nugal and Mudug regions.
Our goal was to have a community that uses Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) and Solar Steam Cooking Energy as an alternative source of energy. If LPG or Solar Steam Cooking Energy is adopted, the excessive deforestation and soil erosion would be eradicated. This means dry land caused by water runoff declines. Also, our objective was to create a focal team that meets periodically and conducts awareness on protecting the environment and rangeland areas. The group talked to district leaders, faith leaders, and environmental agencies to address issues related to charcoal production and trade that was taking place in their neighborhoods.
The outcome of the research formed a reference point for that assignment and provides the necessary background document for the project. The research came at an opportune moment as its finding had a direct benefit to the project and shaped Puntland’s charcoal production and trade sector policy discourse.
From May to July 2013, concerning the Puntland Government of Somalia’s transition to a multi-party system, it was highly necessary to reach out to university students and educate them about voting education. The idea was about rational deliberation and mutual respect for opposing ways of life in democratic states.
Gateway Institute’s Promoting Civic Engagement was to strengthen the capabilities of local civic groups especially university students. We offered a variety of civic education circles to educate university students about the importance of having fair and free elections, the importance of women and minority political participation, and recognition of challenges and opportunities facing civic education in the 21st century.
Voter and civic education were necessary to ensure that all constituents including university students understand their rights, districts' political platforms, the contests they are being asked to decide, and how and where to vote. For an election to be successful and democratic, students were supposed to understand their rights and responsibilities, and must be sufficiently knowledgeable and well informed to cast ballots that are legally valid and to participate meaningfully in the voting process. Voter and civic education were even more critical in post-conflict countries like the Puntland State of Somalia, where political situations may be volatile and where elections may have an unprecedented impact on the state's future.
Moving into a multi-party system might create further chaos and violence among different party supporters. Transitioning to the multi-party system, was highly necessary to reach out to university students to open free dialogue, political rights, freedom of association, access to information through mass media to allow civic tolerance so that citizens can enjoy diverse conceptions of the good, and create cohesion and loyalty for the country.
In this regard, the Gateway Institute had students' information sessions through Puntland Universities. We held civic education sessions in East African University campuses in Bosaso, Garowe, Galkacyo, and Buhodle. We also held sessions at Puntland State University in Garowe, Garowe Teachers EducationCollege in Garowe, University of Science and Technology (PUST) in Galkayo, and Makhir University in Sanaag.
We reached 1400 students at eleven different university campuses in Puntland. Students who attend Puntland universities are considered about 8000. So students we reached were about 17.5 percent of which 64 percent were female and 36 percent were male.
In January 2013, President of the Somali Federal Republic, HE: Hassan Sheikh Mohamud visited Minneapolis, MN. Mohamud’s visit to Minneapolis came a day after he met with President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at the White House. Mohamud admired the Somali community for their positive contributions to the U.S. and to Somalia. “The renewed diplomacy between the United States and Somalia wouldn't be possible without your strong voices,” Mohamud said of the Minnesota Somali community. “Somali-Americans played a big role in the renewed friendship of the two countries. And I thank you for that.” Mohamud appealed to Somalis to return home and become part of the country’s reconstruction.
About 200 people stood outside, holding signs with messages against Mohamud and shouting “down with the president” while Mohamud spoke to thousands of supporters inside the Minneapolis convention center. The protesters criticized the president of “dictatorship,” saying that he stumbled on the constitution by not supporting federalism in Somalia. However, the president welcomed their opinion and said to protesters “I’m glad that these people are holding up signs, and not guns”. He welcomed talks with the demonstrators, saying, “We will apologize if we’re on the wrong side.” Mohamud was accompanied by Minister of Foreign Affairs and Deputy Prime Minister Fawzia Adan, Minister of Information and Telecommunication Abdullahi Emloge Hirsi, and Deputy Somali Ambassador to United Nations Idd Bedel Mohamed.
The Executive Director of Gateway Institute, Tarabi Jama, and his staff welcomed President Hassan Sh. Mohamud and his delegate to Minneapolis. Jama and the president talked about the current situation of Somalia and how Diasporas can help rebuilding Somalia after twenty years of civil war, piracy, and religious extremism. Jama then had breakfast with the president along with Somali community leaders on which former Somali Prime Minister HE: Abdirizak Haji Hussein addressed the event and talked to on how to rebuild Somalia. Likewise, Mr. Jama met Minister of Foreign Affairs and Deputy Prime Minister Fawzia Adan. He shared with the minister about the financial contribution that the Somali American community in Minnesota sent to areas affected by famine that hit Somalia from 2011 on which nearly 260,000 people died. With the community assistance Gateway Institute also sent k-12 books, college and university books, computers, medical equipment, etc to Somalia.
Other dignitaries who welcomed the Somali President include U.S. Representative Keith Ellison (D-MN). Speaking at the event, Congressman Ellison encouraged the Somali community to continue supporting Somalia. “You should ask yourself, ‘What can I do to help Somalia,’” Ellison said to the crowd, which broke into a standing ovation when he was introduced. He also made certain to the community that Somalia has many friends in the United States and Minnesota, who will stand by their side during the rebuilding of their country.