"Unlike the usual entrepreneurship lectures, Economic Challenges for African Development puts you in the shoes of all stakeholders involved in the process of creating businesses and upscaling them. Whether you are interested in founding your own business, supporting start-ups in incubators, investing, or acquiring a start-up as a corporation, the course gives you an overview on the strategies used in these different positions, and on the role of all of them in creating value to consumers.
The most inspirational part for me was our afternoon trips to different townships in Cape Town. We visited successful businesses that had their beginnings in the Phillippi Village. Watching these young entrepreneurs use their personal passion to represent the beauty of their neighbourhoods and create a positive impact on the communities is simply amazing. It was a living proof of how one small group of individuals can make a change. It taught me the value of resilience, team work, and trust in creating successful businesses.
One of the best things about the course is that it is problem based. Along the 2 weeks, we worked in teams on developing an idea of a high impact business in a challenging environment, with the purpose of pitching it at the end of the course. After receiving theoretical knowledge in the lecture, the entrepreneurs we meet get to challenge it through their experience. Then we go in teams to discuss what is the right strategy for our business idea, based on our understanding and our personal goals. With this method, the course depicts the true nature of entrepreneurship: There is no recipe each entrepreneur follows to reach success. It is up to you, your values and your goals as a founder to define your high impact business and the impact it shall have.
As a biomedical engineer, the course pushed me to take more of a stand in supporting start-ups that promote cheaper and efficient technical solutions to make the healthcare experience of patients who need it better. It showed me the difference between founding businesses and creating products for low income countries and high income countries, and how culture and politics play a role in making these solutions accessible to consumers." Soura Ben Yahia, Aachen University of Applied Sciences, Germany