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IE Wants To Boost Innovation, Entrepreneurship In Africa

Participants gather for IE Africa Day 2018. IE courtesy photo

Continuing on a committed path to help drive innovation, leadership, and social impact throughout Africa, IE University in Madrid, Spain, has announced a new initiative to support the mission. Coming this September, the institution is set to embark on the launch of its new IE Africa Center.

Our goal is to support African changemakers and promote innovation, financial inclusion, and the empowerment of African women,” Carlos Mas, vice president of the IE Foundation overseeing the new venture, says in a news release. A highlight of the new center will be the IE Africa Social Innovation Booster, a program to accelerate innovative and entrepreneurial ideas put forth by African business leaders that promise strong social impact. The social innovation initiative will be coordinated in conjunction with IE’s Social Innovation Center and serve to “strengthen issues related to team management, fundraising, innovation, and sustainability,” the school’s press announcement states.

The IE Africa Center will be headed up by Begoña Gómez, a 20-year consulting and teaching pro who specializes in design and implementation of strategic projects focused on fundraising and sustainability in the nonprofit sector. Gómez also happens to be the spouse of Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez. She brings a wide range of experience to the director’s role: Gómez is a former consulting director at Inmark Group, and since 2015 has served as co-director of the master’s in public and private fundraising for nonprofit organizations at the Higher Center for Management Studies at Madrid’s Complutense University. She has more than 20 years’ experience in consulting and teaching.

AFRICAN PARTNERSHIPS THAT SPAN 10 YEARS

IE’s affinity for Africa isn’t new. Executive training programs, women in business, and women entrepreneurship initiatives all fall within the school’s portfolio of efforts staged throughout the continent as well as an annual Talent Without Borders scholarship program to facilitate African candidates’ access to IE’s degree, masters, and exec ed programs plus various training and social impact projects spread throughout Ghana, Ethiopia, South Africa, and Nigeria.

The upcoming center will provide a strategic framework for these and other such African-centered initiatives while showcasing innovation happening throughout the region.

“IE has been promoting executive education and leading social impact programs in Africa for the past 10 years. The creation of this center is a further indication of our commitment to Africa and will allow us to invest in our strategic initiatives,” says Felicia Appenteng, the new center’s chairperson.

AFRICA’S GROWING IMPORTANCE IN THE GLOBAL ECONOMY PIQUES THE INTEREST OF MANY

Appenteng stresses the forward-thinking aspects of IE’s move. “With this center, we aspire to reshape the way that the next generation of global executives and entrepreneurs understand African history and culture,” she says. “With the world’s largest percentage of people under the age of 18, the highest concentration of natural resources, and a new wave of political reform, Africans on the continent and in the diaspora are reclaiming their place in the world. IE must be an integral part of the change which will reveal Africa to the world.”

 IE isn’t the only institution with its sights set on future economic growth and prosperity in Africa. As Poets&Quants recently reported, many MBA scouts are targeting Africa for prospective students, an interest that’s reflective of the region’s growing prominence in the global economy.

But IE may have an edge, boasting a student population that draws from more than 130 countries around the world. Each year, more than 100 students from Africa enroll in the university, which reports an African alumni network of some 600 graduates.

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