Lancaster University: Lancaster entrepreneurs bring expertise to aspiring African students

Students from across Africa benefitted from the business expertise of Lancaster University Management School’s Entrepreneurs in Residence (EiR) as they seek sustainable solutions to issues in their communities.

Members of Lancaster’s globally-renowned EiR programme, passed on insight and knowledge to students taking part in the Global Business School Network’s (GBSN) annual Africa Business Concept Challenge.

The competition, for African undergraduate and graduate students with a commitment to social entrepreneurship within their communities, challenges teams to design a viable business concept that addresses a locally-relevant challenge or a problem related to Agenda 2063, and inclusive and sustainable development.

As part of the competition, students took part in engagement sessions, including Q&As with entrepreneurs. Lancaster University Management School (LUMS) was chosen to take part because of its established expertise in grounded entrepreneurship and its access to entrepreneurs across the globe through the EiR scheme.

Dan LeClair, CEO of GBSN, was pleased the students were able to benefit from the Lancaster EiRs’ expertise. He said: “Thanks to the LUMS Entrepreneurs in Residence programme, GBSN was able to provide a unique opportunity for the Africa Business Concept Challenge students to hear about real-life opportunities from active entrepreneurs. They were able to ask real-life, relevant questions regarding their project ideas, while learning about the challenges and triumphs of international entrepreneurship.”

Sue McGraw, CEO of St John’s Hospice in Lancaster, was one of the LUMS EiRs to take part in the sessions with the Africa Business Concept Challenge students. She said: “I really enjoyed hearing the students’ thoughts and ideas on the Africa Business Concept Challenge, and their passion for their projects was commendable.”

Fellow LUMS EiR Len Rainford, Director of the Franchise Specialist, added: “I offered my support as I felt it would be good to interact with students from overseas and hear their thoughts and share mine. I really enjoyed the session, particularly as it yielded varied opinions and ideas from those taking part, which is always helpful and beneficial.”

LUMS’ collaboration on the Africa Business Concept Challenge follows the success of the GBSN Global Entrepreneur in Residence programme at the end of 2021, involving students from North America, South America, Africa and Asia.