Fast Company is a monthly American business magazine published in print and online that focuses on technology, business, and design. It publishes eight print issues per year released the report of the World’s 50 most innovative companies 2019 today. The report ranked businesses making the most profound impact on both industry and culture showcases a variety of ways to thrive in today’s volatile world.
ALU was ranked first in Africa among 50 companies. Globally at position 39 and was named alongside other global brands like Apple, Dominos, Mozilla, Alibaba Group, Shopify, Walt Disney among others.
ALU got the honorary mention for remaking education for the new era and through scaling higher education for Africa’s rising generation
The founding of ALU dates back to 2008 and was an answer to an interesting statistic where it is estimated that with about 50% of Africa’s population being under the age of 19, Africa will be home to the world’s largest workforce by 2035: a billion-plus people who will transform the continent.
Founded by Fred Swaniker, a Stanford Business School-educated serial entrepreneur, Swaniker first 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.
ALU launched the ALX accelerator program in Kenya in September and they are currently based at Nairobi Garage Kilimani. 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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