27 January 2008

MIT's West African Initiatives

There is an increasing density of MIT entrepreneurial-support action concentrating on Ghana and West Africa more generally. By helping this along, perhaps we can achieve a critical mass of things to the point where enduring institutions take root and we achieve disproportionate impact regionally which could be replicated elsewhere.

Here are some of the MIT activities and organizational actions focused on Ghana & West Africa:

MIT Sloan Ghana Spring Study Tour -- MIT Sloan-sponsored study tour of Ghana with Special Seminar by Professor Tavneet Suri
MIT African Business Club -- Newly founded club connecting the many people at MIT Sloan and the Institute more generally who seek to boost business and prosperity throughout Africa.
MIT D-Lab & G-Lab Projects -- Students working with both Susan Murcott and Rick Locke are traveling to Ghana over IAP 2008 to advise the local entrepreneurs at Pure Home Water and explore market conditions.
MIT SEID Ghana Projects -- An extracurricular action lab experience with team of MBA students working for an entrepreneurial venture during the semester culminating in a field visit. One example host partner has been Pure Home Water.
MIT IDRC Seed Grants for West Africa trips over IAP 2008 -- Support for student travel and market research by several entrepreneurial teams: Rice-to-Riches in Liberia; Pure Home Water in Ghana; Village Drug Stores in Ghana; Matchbox in Ghana; and SurePay financial services in Nigeria.
EPROM Ghana -- Building on the experience of Nathan Eagle in Kenya and East Africa, Don Yansen and colleagues are organizing EPROM Ghana and West Africa more generally. This is an early element in entrepreneurial node-building, which means finding local partners, connecting with entrepreneurial faculty, students, and alumni there, and running a prototype EPROM session or two.
MIT AITI Ghana -- The MIT student-run African Internet Technology Initiative is planning a Ghana session this coming Summer 2008.
MIT Global Startup Workshop GSW 2009 Ghana (?) -- Accra, Ghana is one candidate location for the MIT-student run GSW conference in Spring 2009.
MIT Enterprise Forum Global Chapter Ghana (?) -- There is growing demand for MIT Enterprise Forum Chapters around the world, including in Ghana and West Africa more generally. The general path to a new chapter includes running an escalating series of events and rallying a growing pool of MIT alumni and friends interested in volunteering to organize and even sponsor entrepreneurship support activities.

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