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Most Innovative Companies

African Leadership University

The World's Most Innovative Companies 2016

In 2008, Fred Swaniker, a Stanford Business School-educated serial entrepreneur, founded ALU's sister organization, the Johannesburg-based African Leadership Academy, a selective institute dedicated to educating the next generation of African leaders. In 2015, Swaniker expanded that effort and opened the African Leadership University in Mauritius, an institute of higher education designed to teach leadership skills to Africa's best and brightest and to fight the brain drain, which has seen many of Africa's most accomplished young people go abroad to the U.S. or Europe for their education (and often their careers). In 2017, he opened his second undergraduate campus of ALU, in Kigali, Rwanda. A recent recipient of a US$30 million Series B funding round, the ALU is training future African leaders by moving away from more traditional university programs; students select missions to pursue, rather than majors. Swaniker is now expanding even further with the new ALX accelerator program, which runs six-month courses in leadership and technical skills in areas like data science and operational management from low-cost setups such as coworking spaces. These ALX hubs are designed to enable leadership development at scale, building ecosystems of entrepreneurship, innovation, and collaboration to prepare young people for employment and to become job creators. Facilitating learning from these hubs has allowed ALU to drive down the cost of attendance for students, which now stands at US$2,000 in Kenya. ALU has also rolled out an innovative approach to student finance based on income-sharing agreements. This model means students pay nothing up front for their education, and instead only pay a share of their income to investors once they are employed. ALU already has campuses in Mauritius, Rwanda, and Kenya, and will use its funding to open its doors in Johannesburg, Lagos, Cape Town, and Casablanca.

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2016: Africa
Data
headquarters: Pamplemousses, Mauritius
African Leadership University On The Web
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