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Corona challenge was turned into an opportunity – StartUp School is building an entrepreneurship network in Africa

The corona pandemic changed Finland’s geopolitical position. Professional interaction and education are now online, so Finland is no longer on the fringes. We can even more effectively cooperate with different continents and metropolies.

Published : 06.11.2020

Haaga-Helia StartUp School has created a collaboration model with the Ambitious Africa program, which activates Finnish and African students to work together on interesting work-based projects. The joint project ”StartUp School goes Africa” will be launched during the first week November, offering young people the opportunity to build an international network as well as it offers inspiring learning opportunities.

The Haaga-Helia StartUp School concept is an university linked business incubator. It has beendeveloped in Finland an has been operating since 2012. StartUp School’s operations are based on internationally acclaimed Finnish pedagogical know-how and continuous research and innovation activities. The concept evolves co-operating closely with working life and has already attracted a lot of interest internationally – its concept has been leveraged to support entrepreneurship in, for example, South Africa, Botswana and Ukraine.

The aim of the now starting giant project is to utilize the StartUp School concept more widely in Africa. We export StartUp School’s digital operating concept to 54 countries. The aim is to encourage solution-oriented and productive entrepreneurial mindset and to put it into practice. At the same time, we provide opportunities to agile learning outside the classroom, as on-the-job learning and networking are effective ways to build skills and are the core of StartUp School concept.

Young people are at the heart of the Ambitious Africa program. It is supported by governments and influential individuals in Finland and Africa, such as Minister for Development and Foreign Trade Ville Skinnari, Peter Vesterbacka and Pekka Haavisto. In addition to young people, more experienced experts, companies and teachers are welcome to enable and support youth collaboration in the StartUp School goes Africa project.

The goals of both the EU’s and Finland’s Africa strategies are to have strong partnerships with African countries, and Haaga-Helia wants to contribute to the development of relations as a major business educator in Northern Europe. In a networked society and working life of the future, project and production-based working is emphasized, and our Africa project develops participants’ capabilities for the future work and global gig economy on different platforms.

This is not a traditional development or education export project – now we want to activate young people as part of their studies to work with African youth at the grassroots level. There are more than 200 million young people aged 15-24 in Africa with huge potential and they have the opportunity to reform Africa as they soon move into decision-making roles.

The current labor market challenges the opportunities for students to do internships as part of their studies in organizations and thus promote their studies. Young people do not have to wait for employers to recruit in order to gain work experience and develop their skills. In addition to Haaga-Helia students, the course is available to all through e.g. 3UAS collaboration ( Haaga-Helia, Metropolia and Laurea students) and and Haaga-Helia Open University. You don’t have to be a student to contribute – all professionals are welcomed too regardless of their age.

Welcome aboard! Learn more here.