When we took a look at entrepreneurial hub No Picket Fence, we discovered a group of individuals fervently engaged in sharing their entrepreneurial experiences. Google Hangouts have been a staple for the No Picket Fence community to learn from, and engage with, successful South African entrepreneurs. Today, No Picket Fence is putting these recorded Hangouts front and center as part of its newly launched African Entrepreneur Academy initiative.
Michael Cowen, co-founder of No Picket Fence is bullish on the initiative. “Our objective is to give African entrepreneurs all the skills they need to create their own successful business, and to create one-million new businesses by 2020, employing five-million people, and positively affecting the lives of 50-million people” says Cowen.
Cowen explains that the Academy aims to disrupt the regular education model. “Whereas learning normally occurs in the classroom and is followed up by homework, assignments and tutorials, our model delivers the lectures in the form of free online instructional videos with subject matter experts. This is then followed up by interactive online hangouts in which participants get to ask their questions and clarify their understanding of the subject matter. The expert engages, shares with, and guides the entrepreneur.”
Unemployment in Africa is rife and entrepreneurial activity is a key factor in boosting formal economies that do not create the required employment opportunities. Still, starting a new business in Africa is challenging and the African Entrepreneur Academy hopes to equip budding entrepreneurs with the skills, knowledge and insight to make their business a success.
When asked about the business model for the Academy and how it will be funded, Cowen said that several South African corporates have expressed interest in supporting the initiative. In addition, donations and contributions from the public are also accepted.
“The time is right for African entrepreneurs to drive economic success and prosperity through the creation of their own successful businesses”, says Cowen. “The Academy gives them the resources to do just that.”