ALA CENTER FOR ENTREPRENEURIAL LEADERSHIP

The ALA Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership aims to nurture young leaders to their highest potential and provide a solid foundation for a lifelong leadership journey. 

Entrepreneurial Leadership at ALA

Participation in the two-year Entrepreneurial Leadership program is a requirement for all students.

The Entrepreneurial Leadership program is designed to build the interpersonal skills that are essential for future agents of positive change in Africa. During the first year, students develop a mindset and skillset in units with two parts: (1) classroom and experiential “lab” sessions designed to further each student’s understanding of self and his or her understanding of leadership; and (2) integrative exercises that apply the practice of leadership skills in “real-life” settings. During the second year, students complete their Culminating Project (CP), the capstone to each student’s ALA experience, through the unique platform called the Student Enterprise Program. This course integrates a focus on skills and conceptual learning with personal growth and tangible action.

Year 1 – Entrepreneurial Leadership 

During the first year, African Leadership Academy students develop the mindset, approach, and skills necessary to be entrepreneurial leaders on the African continent. The syllabus includes a variety of teaching methods, including team-based design challenges, guest speakers, mini-lectures, simulations and games, case studies and experiential learning. The Entrepreneurial Leadership curricula focuses on conceptual frameworks that challenge assumptions and introduce new ideas in both areas of study, skills that are elemental to successful leaders and entrepreneurs, values reinforcement, and personal growth through leadership coaching. In the 1st Year curriculum, students participate in the following defining activities:

Experiential Design Challenges: Through our series of design challenges, each student learns to access his or her creativity through an iterative, team-based process of brainstorming, prototyping, and testing new ideas. Design challenges range from small, demonstrative competitions (such as building a large tower from toothpicks) to multi-day challenges to create solutions to some of Africa’s most pressing problems.

The Case Learning Program: The entrepreneurship case learning program provides students with African entrepreneurial role models who challenge and inspire students to “dream big.”

Distinguished Guest Speaker Series and Executive Seminars: Entrepreneurs frequently visit campus to share insights from their experience and interact with students, demystifying the entrepreneurial process and serving as role models.

Leadership Modules: Leadership modules are key curriculum units designed around a particular set of skills and concepts. Leadership topics include mental models, speech and presentation, values-based leadership, and emotional intelligence. Each module series includes a mix of group activities and individualized learning, reflection, and direct feedback from faculty.

BUILD Lab: In the weekly BUILD lab, students develop the capacity to design and deliver innovative solutions to challenging, multidisciplinary problems on the African continent.

Original Idea for Development Incubator: African Leadership Academy students’ gain practical experience identifying their passions and bringing to market ideas for change that align with their passions and skills. Students learn tangible skills that make it possible for them to launch their idea immediately.

Year 2 - Entrepreneurial Leadership 

The Student Enterprise Program serves as the capstone experience in the ALA Entrepreneurial Leadership program, allowing each student to synthesize and implement the leadership and entrepreneurship lessons learned in the first year curricular sequence, while applying their on-going lessons to leadership situations. It is primarily an educational simulation designed to provide hands-on practice of leadership. Students have the opportunity to manage and lead three to seven person teams to execute a project that has direct impact on the ALA community or a neighboring one. As a culminating experience to the Entrepreneurial Leadership curriculum at African Leadership Academy, students learn how to put the foundational learning of their first year curricula into practice. This project enables students to synthesize and enact the leadership and entrepreneurship themes in a practical, hands-on way. The Student Enterprise Program is a second-year culminating project required to graduate from ALA.

Sample Student Enterprise Projects

ALMAS: ALA Student Brian Kalugira ’08 led a team to create and test milk-butter lotions in the ALA science laboratories, with a goal of providing a high-quality, mosquito-repelling lotion. Ultimately, he seeks to sell the lotion in high-end boutique stores at a significant margin, and use the profits to provide the lotion to impoverished communities in Malarial regions across the continent.

Mathemahelp: Recognising that there is a need for better access to mathematical resources in the classrooms, MathemaHelp distributes content on DVDs free of charge, with the aim of increasing pass rates in Mathematocs and consequently University admission amongst grade 12 students in Port Elizabeth.

Other Projects:

  • Environmental conservation and awareness project aiming to make the campus fully sustainable
  • Redesigning a community library, and launching a literacy and numeracy tutorial program
  • Campus hair salon and barber shop
  • Supplying needy community members with a sustainable source of fresh vegetables and fruits from a local farm
  • Recording and digitizing oral histories