Africa has complex and unique business opportunities. Harvard Business School professors are launching a new online course to teach entrepreneurs how to build scalable businesses designed to solve core problems in Africa. Unlike other business courses, this one focuses on identifying points of opportunity for smart entrepreneurial efforts through live online lectures, peer-to-peer learning, and real-life lessons incorporated into participants’ own business plan. The online course starts on August 17, 2020.

Taught by Harvard Business School Professors Tarun Khanna, Caroline Elkins, and Karim Lakhani, participants learn how Africa-specific trends impact the opportunities and challenges in undertaking entrepreneurship ventures on the continent. This course examines the nuances that render Africa unique in today’s emerging market landscape, and the similarities that can be drawn from the world’s other fast-moving emerging economies. Developing participants’ own business plan with peer-to-peer feedback is the capstone learning experience of this course.

The course provides a series of time-tested lecture content and active reading assignments. Each week participants engage with course content and readings, and the week ends with a live webinar section that includes HBS faculty and leaders from the African business community. In addition, each participant has the option to participate in the course’s week-by-week business plan development process. Business plan development will culminate with such participants having an opportunity to submit a business plan.

Africa’s top business leaders

“The best plans will be judged by a highly qualified African business jury recruited from among experts who have lectured as part of our course on Africa. In so doing, the course will expose students to an unparalleled network of business academics at Harvard Business School, as well as Africa’s top business leaders,” commented Harvard Business School Professor Caroline Elkins.

Course content draws upon HBS cases and student tested and reviewed courses. They include the world-renowned Entrepreneurship in Emerging Markets course that has reached over half a million learners in 200 countries, and HBS’s four-day intensive MBA course, Africa Rising: Understanding Business, Entrepreneurship, and the Complexities of a Continent.

Course head, Harvard Business School Professor Tarun Khanna said, “We are excited to have developed a course specifically for African entrepreneurs. In addition, using the course as a platform to develop the participants’ own business plans makes the course ‘real.’ It is unlike any other course offered for aspiring African entrepreneurs.”

Participants who complete the course will get a verified certificate from HarvardX, Harvard University’s online learning platform.

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