The one-year program is based on years of work and research in the private sector and higher education in Iraq, during which founder Christine van den Toorn identified a three-tiered skills gap which prevented private sector companies from hiring Iraqi university graduates English language, Soft or Professional skills, and Business fundamentals. Working with a team of academics and practitioners, Ms. van den Toorn developed a curriculum tailored to Iraqi youth and the Iraqi market that would prepare students to be eligible to work in the private sector.
A team of staff and faculty, partners and donors in the private sector and academic institutions, as well as significant in-kind support have built BBS thus far. After nearly two years of planning from 2018 to 2020, BBS staff held the first admissions campaign in July 2020, enrolling 20 students into its pilot class. A year later, 17 students graduated in December 2021 and began internships, jobs, and work on their own startups. The second cohort of 22 students began their classes in October 2021 and will graduate in November 2022. Business Foundations will expand each year until it reaches approximately 100 students, divided into 5 classes. BBS will open a two-year diploma-granting institute of Business Administration in 2023, as well as other certificate programs in key areas like IT/ Programming, Human Resources, Digital Marketing, and Sales and the Digital Economy.