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.
Deadline for applying for the program is May 14
May 14, 2017
The deadline for applying for the 2017 program is May 14, 2017.
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
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
Registration for Adansonia 2017 is now closed. Stay tuned for future iterations of the Adansonia program.
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 about the Program
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.
Frequently Asked Questions about the Online Course
The credentials are in your email inbox. Look for a message that dates May 18th. Also check your spam folder. If you cannot find them anywhere, send us an email at email@example.com and we will send them again to you.
We are trying to make the platform as light-weight as possible. We suggest that you try to access the platform at least once a week from a place with a good internet connection, like a university or an internet cafè. Remember that, once the materials have been downloaded, they will be available for you at any time!
This issue might be caused by slow internet connection or by the type of browser used. Try to change Wi-Fi connection or device; and use Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox or Safari as browsers. Also, try to refresh the page several times if it does not work. To make sure that your problems are not due to traffic congestion, try accessing the learning platform at different times of the day. Finally, double-check that you are clicking on the correct link (http://learninglab.sdabocconi.it/adansonia/login/) and that you are using the correct credentials.
If you have troubles in accessing the videos, send us an email and we will send you a link to the videos. However, in order to proceed with the course, you should at least be able to click on the “MARK COMPLETE” button at the bottom of the video’s window. If you are encountering difficulties with this procedure, do not hesitate to contact us.
After logging in, you will arrive the dashboard page. To navigate across modules please click on the Menu button in the upper left corner of the learning platform. A vertical column will open up, with all the links to the modules. Please, note that not all modules are already available. They are released over time, as indicated in the syllabus.
The course is organized into Modules. Each module represents a section of the business course, made of videos, slides and short quizzes. At the end of some modules, you will be asked to complete a Milestone. Milestones are practical applications of what you have learned in the module.
If you have successfully completed your weekly Module, then the course status bar that you find in the dashboard will show “100% completed”. However, if that module is followed by a Milestone, you will have to complete it as well.
Starting from Module 1, milestones will be automatically saved in progress. Therefore, do not worry if you suddenly lose your connection; your answers won’t be lost! Please keep in mind that milestones can only be completed once; if you submit an answer you cannot go back and change it.
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.