What happens if you mix 7 international business professionals from a leading multinational insurance company, 5 Kenyan entrepreneurs, and 42 high potential entrepreneurial AiduAlumni and lock them up for five days in a boarding school in Nairobi?

This was the question we asked at the first Swiss Re Start Up Academy held at Nairobi School from 18 to 22 August – and that is what we got:

  • lot’s of laughter and fun.
  • a steep learning curve for the AiduAlumni whose pitches on day 1 and day 5 of the academy were like night and day.
  • 30-60min lectures by mentors from Swiss Re, as well as local and foreign experienced business professionalson the following topics: customer need, USPs, business model, finances, book keeping, funding your business, negotiation, social media, pitching, the example of the Reinsurance market, marketing, and sales.
  • 42 valuable 1:1 mentoring sessions that helped guide each AiduAlumnus/ AiduAlumna
  • very joyful, African-style recaps in the mornings.
  • 40 Kenyan high potentials full of passion for entrepreneurship: after the academy, 40 out of 42 answered the question how much they would like to become an entrepreneur with “very much” or “extremely much”.
  • 8 start-up teams (depictedin the photograph below) that couldn’t stop working and preparing for their final pitches even until very lat at night.
  • the proof that financial analysts can dance, be spontaneous, and have great humour.
  • many friendships and long-lasting memories.
  • some tears that everything has to end at some point.

Out of the 8 start-up ideas, the winning team was “Local Fish Ponds”, which will meet increasing demand and provide cheaper fish inland. It was led by Rachel, who can’t wait to put her idea into practice.

We expect that many of the start ups will submit their business plans to Wonderland Award – a start up competition that will be launched by Aiducation International thanks to a private donation in December.

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