It’s the first online based platform of its kind I have used. After working with a business incubator for 3 years, I saw the need of entrepreneurs working together to address challenges within their businesses. There were always unique solutions to challenges devised whenever they worked together.
Take an online course on entrepreneurship
Learn to build a business and to get funding from investors in a new 6-week online course by Bocconi University and venture capitalists in Africa.
Make new connections and get feedback
Discuss your business ideas with fellow entrepreneurs from other African countries and make new connections.
Pitch to investors and get funding
Pitch to local and international venture capitalists who are interested in funding African startups and SMEs.
Learn more at a top business school in Milan
The most innovative and engaged participants will have the opportunity to travel to Italy for a brief business course at Bocconi University.
Timeline for the 2017 program
The following dates are approximate and may change by a week.
Apply for the program by May 14
May 14, 2017
Apply for the 2017 program by May 14, 2017. Instructions are given below. Invite your friends and colleagues to apply, too! The program only gets better as more people join.
Online course begins
May 17, 2017
All participants get to take a new six-week online course on entrepreneurship. In the course, you will learn how to craft your business plan and how to apply for funding from local and international investors. The course is taught by professors at Bocconi University, one of the top business schools in Europe, and by venture capitalists in Africa. The course consists of brief videos with low bandwidth requirements.
Network with fellow entrepreneurs
June 3, 2017
Some participants will have the opportunity to network with fellow entrepreneurs. In virtual communities and in-person meet-up events, participants will meet, chat, give feedback, offer advice, and more.
Online course finishes
July 28, 2017
By the end of the course, participants will have learned how to ideate a new value proposition, test an idea before launch, assess market size, assess competitors, segment customers, make financial forecasts, build your team, prepare a business plan, pitch your idea, and apply for funding.
Participants submit business proposals
July 30, 2017
All participants can submit a business proposal. These proposals are reviewed by venture capitalists in Africa.
August 25, 2017
Entrepreneurs with the top-rated business proposals (as rated by venture capitalists) will have the opportunity to pitch to local venture capitalists and other investors. These investors give feedback and have the opportunity to offer funding to the entrepreneurs.
Who is eligible?
In the April–June 2017 program, entrepreneurs must satisfy three requirements:
Based in Africa
Participants must be based in Africa. It doesn’t matter where.
Have a business idea
Aspiring entrepreneurs are welcome. So are entrepreneurs with an existing business that they wish to expand.
Have an Internet-connected device
Be able to view videos and to run an application on Android, iOS, Windows, Mac, or Linux.
Join the May–June 2017 program
Participation in the program is completely free.
To join the program, complete and submit this survey by May 14, 2017. This survey takes about 20 to 30 minutes to complete.
After completing this survey, you are in!
The more the better
The program only improves as more people join. Invite your friends on Twitter and Facebook:
Share Adansonia with my Twitter followers
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes! You just need an idea for expanding your business. You can use Adansonia to get financing and feedback.
Yes! Having an idea for a start-up is enough to join Adansonia.
You may participate in either program but not both.
There is no age limit. All are welcome!
Yes. Adansonia has no barriers to entry in terms of sector, size of business, and whether it’s a for-profit, not-for-profit, or social enterprise.
Just one. In each program (fall 2016 and spring 2017), you can submit one business proposal. If you would like to submit more than one, we suggest that you find business partners to present the other ideas.
No, none of the offers are binding. You will be free to carefully evaluate the offers and decide whether to reject or accept them.
Collateral may only be asked if the offer is a loan. However, because all of our partners have long been operating in Africa, they know that loans with collateral are usually not so attractive to local entrepreneurs.
The investment could be debt or equity. If it is a loan, there is no predetermined interest rate. These terms will be decided by our partners on a case-by-case basis.
Yes. A main purpose of the program is to improve business ideas. That improvement may be a small tweak, a pivot to a new direction, or an entirely new idea.
A number of investors have partnered with the Adansonia program. These investors rate the business proposals submitted by participants. Entrepreneurs with the top-rated proposals get the opportunity to pitch to these investors, and after the pitching event, the investors decide whom to invest in.
Testimonials from the October–December 2016 program
It does not discriminate anyone; it is open to everyone who is ready to participate irrespective of age and education level and other background levels. Therefore I would recommend anyone as long as he/she has a business idea.
I would absolutely recommend [the Adansonia program] because most of the lessons learnt during the program are not handled in detail at colleges and university, as I was given exposure and a skill on how to pitch a Business, apply for funding and also write a proposal. I believe many youth out there are limited to start business due to lack of this attainable and easy to adapt knowledge and skills.
It is the most exciting entrepreneurship contest I have ever seen. It enables entrepreneurs to network while building insights and lessons for business growth, sustainability and development.
Fernando Vega Redondo
Fernando is an economist, currently at Bocconi University in Milan. His latest research has centered on the study of social networks in a variety of different contexts. He believes that innovation and entrepreneurship are very much embedded in social networks and that a network perspective should shed novel and important light on economic development.
Cristiana Benedetti Fasil
Cristiana is an economist working on growth, entrepreneurship, and development at the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission. She is driven by curiosity, passion and a personal desire of doing something meaningful. This has led her to be involved in different activities in Africa and in funding her NGO Social Venture Africa which promotes women empowerment and entrepreneurship.
Charlie is an applied mathematician with wide-ranging interests in complex systems, economics, and artificial intelligence. He is a Research Associate in Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard University.
Paolo is a mathematician turned economist, working at Bocconi University. His research has mostly focused on social networks, but in the last years he moved his area of interest to real field work.
Gaia is an Associate Professor of Marketing at Bocconi University, where she studies innovation, strategic marketing, Big Data, and marketing analytics.
Diego is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Economics at Bocconi University. His current research focuses on entrepreneurship, financial access and attitudes towards immigrants. His teaching focuses on Program Evaluation and Development Economics.