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Ashesi Univerisity: The Entrepreneurial story of the creation of a New University in Africa

This is a presentation I gave on the creation of Ashesi University in Ghana, founded by Patrick Awuah, where I have served on the Ashesi Board foundation for 10+ years. I borrowed the content heavily from Patrick and a talk he gave at Northwestern in the Fall of 2014. I gave the presentation to 25 or so Young African Leadership Initiative (YALI) fellows who were at Northwestern University in July 2014. YALI is an initiative of USAID. The scholars were amazing individuals from across africa.

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Ashesi Univerisity: The Entrepreneurial story of the creation of a New University in Africa

  1. 1. Ethical Leadership Innovative Thinking A New Africa The Ashesi Story
  2. 2. Founder: Patrick Awuah Background • Born and raised near Accra, Ghana • Engineering at Swarthmore • 7+ Years at Microsoft working on networking technologies • Left Microsoft to attend UC Haas MBA program • …and to build a business plan
  3. 3. What Patrick Saw A skills gap • Technical skills in many fields • The need to think critically & creatively • Leadership • Ethics In a country where <5% go to college. College Graduates lead the country
  4. 4. • Great teams • Innovation What Africa Needs
  5. 5. Ashesi’s mission To educate a new generation of ethical, entrepreneurial leaders in Africa.
  6. 6. Ashesi’s Business Plan: Customers • Identified a gap in the market between families who sent students abroad and free local universities • Started with market research with parents —would they pay? • Talked to employers. Would they hire graduates?
  7. 7. Ashesi’s Plan: Value Proposition • Liberal Arts Core: – Critical Thinking – Ethical Society • Practical Majors: – Business – Computer Science • Projects and Community Service • Career Services • Dedicated Faculty
  8. 8. Ashesi’s Plan: Business Model • Initially: Raise money from US Donors for initial capital, build campus for 1200 or so students, begin classes. Move to sustainability from operations & tuition in 5 years • Pivot: .com bust in US curtailed philanthropy from initial target. Curriculum gained accreditation; started classes in 2002 in rented buildings
  9. 9. To cultivate within our students the critical thinking skills, the concern for others, and the courage it will take to transform their continent.
  10. 10. Ashesi’s learning goals 1. Ethics and civic engagement 2. Critical thinking and quantitative reasoning 3. Communication 4. Leadership and teamwork 5. Innovation and action 6. Curiosity and skill 7. Technological competence
  11. 11. How we do what we do
  12. 12. The Ashesi Way • Consistently striving for deeper expertise • Asking questions that broaden the conversation • Embracing fresh thinking • Connecting with others in our chosen fields • Proactively sharing skills and knowledge with others Scholarship Leadership Citizenship • Helping colleagues be more successful • Engaging talents, experiences and capabilities of others • Communicating effectively • Taking initiative and going beyond the call of duty • Setting ambitious, yet attainable goals • Being socially and environmentally conscious • Recognizing long-term implications of decisions and actions • Having fun • Being ethical • Leaving a lasting impact on individuals, organizations and communities
  13. 13. Graduates are touching millions of lives
  14. 14. Graduates are adding value to Ghana’s economy
  15. 15. We have come a long way! 600 students  530 alumni  excellent track record  a beautiful campus national and global recognition
  16. 16. LONG ROAD TO SUSTAINABILITY
  17. 17. Deficit financed for 7 years Approximately $2 million in losses supported by donors since 2002. Not including losses incurred from 1999 (500,000) (400,000) (300,000) (200,000) (100,000) - 100,000 200,000 300,000 400,000 Initial Plan vs. Current Path 1stBusiness Plan CurrentPath
  18. 18. Ashesi Economic Model US Ashesi Foundation Ashesi University College, Ghana Individual Donations Foundations Grants for Capital Projects Scholarships Tuition Financial Aid Local Donations
  19. 19. Decision Checklist • Mission • Strategy • Economic model
  20. 20. Ashesi’s second decade: People, programs, spaces
  21. 21. pan-African | International | Gender Balance Brain Gain Fund | Scholarships | Collaborations |
  22. 22. Engineering at Ashesi • Electrical Engineering • Computer Engineering • Mechanical Engineering Core Strengths • Design • Entrepreneurship • Real world experience via monitored internships Educate tinkerers who can create engineering solutions for local needs
  23. 23. Economics and Management • Quantitative analysis • Pipeline to top PhD programs in the world • Pipeline to Corporate Africa Law and Society • Public sector leaders • Civic society leaders
  24. 24. Campus Master Plan One hundred verdant acres with stunning views of Berekuso, Accra and Tema Courtyard spaces that emphasize a sense of community. A landscape of trees, benches and stairs that link courtyards and create places for pausing, meeting and gathering. Architecture derived from the Ghanaian vernacular
  25. 25. Engineering at Ashesi
  26. 26. Academics at Ashesi • Computer Science • Business Administration • Management Information Systems Liberal Arts Core: social sciences, humanities, mathematics, African studies and leadership

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This is a presentation I gave on the creation of Ashesi University in Ghana, founded by Patrick Awuah, where I have served on the Ashesi Board foundation for 10+ years. I borrowed the content heavily from Patrick and a talk he gave at Northwestern in the Fall of 2014. I gave the presentation to 25 or so Young African Leadership Initiative (YALI) fellows who were at Northwestern University in July 2014. YALI is an initiative of USAID. The scholars were amazing individuals from across africa.

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