The first edition of E4Impact MBA in Impact Entrepreneurship was launched at St. Mary’s University (SMU) in Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) in November 2017. The 1st cohort of the MBA students presented their business models and got feedback on November 19th after the one-week Business Modeling and Finance training held at the School of Graduate Studies, SMU.

The projects are diverse in nature. More than 60% of the projects students presented are related to agriculture. While supporting Ethiopia’s efforts in food security, these projects are aimed at exporting agricultural products. The remaining projects are on manufacturing, education, sanitation, consultancy and housing.

The student composition is quite diverse in many respects, including age, profession and experience. A significant number of them have already set up businesses and want to scale them up. Others are aspiring to set up new businesses. During the presentations, it was pretty clear that the students were passionate about their projects, knew what they want to do and are ready to commit themselves toward realizing their dreams. Following their presentations each student received feedbacks from judges and their classmates.

Prior to their presentations, students were trained on how to design their business models through an intensive session known as Initial Boot Camp which took place from 13 to 19 November 2017. The trainers were a pool of professors from Ethiopia, Kenya and the USA: Professor Bradley Googins, Professor of Organizational Behavior, Carroll School of Management, Boston College, USA; David Cheboryot, Manager of East Africa at E4Impact, Kenya, and Simon Tareke of St. Mary’s University, Ethiopia. Students were provided with tools that helped them develop their business models which will be tested out in the real world and whose findings will be reported in the next session.

With a view to create exposure for students to potential partners that will contribute to the realization of their projects, me as Program Leader together with the East African Region Manager of the Program held deliberations with 14 selected institutions on possible areas of collaboration. The institutions expressed their willingness to partner with St. Mary’s University to support the program. MoUs are expected to be signed with the institutions in the near future.

Misganaw Solomon Mengistu
MBA Program Leader in Addis Ababa