The African Scholarship Cohort (ASC) program was launched in 2016. This program is a joint venture with the University of Virginia and Distance Education for Africa. Anyone in Africa can sign up to participate in this program. Participants receive a scholarship to access an online course hosted on Coursera. Participants are supported by a community of mentors and an active WhatsApp social community. Participants who successfully complete courses receive a certificate of their accomplishment.
In 2021, the theme for this program has been entrepreneurship. Participants have been taking classes related to starting a business and structuring it for success. They have also been taking coding, accounting, project management and design thinking courses. To date, over 32,000 scholarships have been awarded to learners in every country in Africa. The leaders of this program have compiled business case studies written by participants into a 5 volume series of books. These books will provide Africans resources for understanding how to design and evaluate businesses with some key analytical tools like SWOT Analysis, Porter's Five Forces Analysis, Environmental Analysis, and the 4As Model. There are a total of 54 case studies of businesses in Africa. This is the first of its kind resource for business students and entrepreneurs in Africa. This presentation will review the program design and outcomes of the ASC and highlight exemplar case studies written by participants. Education is a tool for social change. This program has transformed lives, created lasting economic impact and promotes gender equity in Africa.
Kristin Palmer, University of Virginia, United States