Africa as a continent with its over 50 nation-states has attracted a lot of attention from international companies across the globe operating in different sectors (e.g., FMCG, infrastructure, mining, construction, pharma etc.). The political and economic conditions in quite a few of the countries have improved to the point that international companies get increasingly involved.
At the same time, a strong entrepreneurial movement has sparked in some of the countries like Kenia. The start-up scene is flourishing, eg., in Silicon Savannah, turning the adverse conditions into great opportunities through frugal innovation. These initiatives empower customers at the base of the pyramid to lead a better life than the generations before them. Africa continues to be of geopolitical importance where claims are set out for the future.
The International Immersion allowed students to not only to understand Kenya better as a country but also as the leading economy in East Africa with its opportunities and risks, but also to determine market opportunities and to develop suitable market entry strategies. The highlighted entrepreneurial initiatives and the look on how the political situation in the countries affect the business eco-system opened up new perspectives and insights on how business is done in Africa.
Visiting local startups and social entrepreneurs, students explored the impressive attitude by local business people in Kenya, which is a driving factor in coming up with innovative solutions with the use of limited resources. Make do with very little and use it meaningfully to create something has become a guiding principle in the in sub-Saharan African market and all its particularities.
The focus of the International Immersion was built around the design challenge business case of Twiga, a food retailer for which the students worked on sulutions for increasing coverage of supply its retailers, cross-selling and build closer customer engagement. Visits in Twigas facilities and meetings with the founders and executives gave the students insights into a real-life african business model, with all its challenges and opportunities.
Students got the chance to dive even further into the entrepreneurial world of Kenya: visits to companies in the construction sector, education, technologie, health care and more, allowed them to experience the African way of business fom different perspectives and gain deeper understanding of the challenges faced: