Careers made in Africa

26.03.2019 - Article

How Universität Leipzig summer schools are supporting start-ups in Rwanda and Ghana, writes deutschland.de.

Group photo of the Summer School 2018 in Ghana.
Group photo of the Summer School 2018 in Ghana.© AGEA

Robert Meyer is a much sought-after man at the moment. He is preparing a summer school for young entrepreneurs in Rwanda. The programme needs to be assembled and the potential participants duly advised. The deadline for registrations for this year is the end of March 2019. The course has slots for ten participants each from Ghana, Rwanda and Germany. Here the students benefit from training, coaching and mentoring by the African German Entrepreneurship Academy and meet development cooperation experts in order to advance their business ideas.

Robert Meyer graduated in African Studies and holds an MBA, for which he focussed on promoting small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Today, he works as coordinator for the African German Entrepreneurship Academy (AGEA), an initiative at Universität Leipzig. For over 20 years now the university has been offering an international Master’s course in 'Small Enterprise Promotion + Training'. The course is aimed at students from the global south and the emerging markets. In an ideal case, people from such countries will do their Master’s in Leipzig and then apply the knowledge gained back home.

Enjoying the “Spaghetti Game” during the Summer School 2018 in Ghana.
Enjoying the “Spaghetti Game” during the Summer School 2018 in Ghana.© AGEA

Since more than 50 participants from Sub-Saharan Africa have since successfully completed the course and their joint projects have created quite a network, in 2017 AGEA was founded. The initiative seeks to Support start-ups and to this end collaborates with two partner institutions, one in Rwanda, the other in Ghana. These in turn cooperate through their respective national networks with over a dozen universities. The Summer Schools are designed to finalise the best ideas, and to this end the initiative receives support from German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) in the form of funding from German Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

In Rwanda one project that has been successfully launched is a company that is making designer garden furniture out of concrete, while in Ghana there’s a fashion company now upcycling textiles, and in Germany the “Africaworks” recruitment agency. Its goal is to network African specialists with European corporations. Already, a sales engineer in Africa has been placed with a German solar company, and an agripreneur in Cameroon recruited for a Swiss company. About 30 additional candidates are currently in the pipeline for selection for positions with European corporations.


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