What you'll learn

  • Identify new entrepreneurial opportunities that generate African solutions to African problems.
  • Use your personal toolkit to understand how to scale a venture in a capital- or infrastructure-limited context.
  • Think about business ventures in the HBS case method style.
  • Develop a conceptual framework for evaluating important factors such as branding, social media, the role of government, and that of other critical stakeholders.
  • Develop resilience in the business model—vital to sustainable success in Africa.

Course description

Africa has complex and unique business opportunities waiting to be explored. This entrepreneurship course takes an interdisciplinary approach to building scalable businesses designed to solve core problems or fill institutional voids. Unlike other business courses, this one focuses on identifying points of opportunity for smart entrepreneurial efforts through “live” online lectures, peer-to-peer learning, and real-life lessons incorporated into your own business plan.

Taught by Harvard Business School (HBS) Professors Tarun Khanna, Caroline Elkins, and Karim Lakhani, you will learn how Africa-specific trends impact the opportunities and challenges in undertaking entrepreneurship ventures on the continent. This course will examine the nuances that render Africa unique in today’s emerging market landscape, and the similarities that can be drawn from the world’s other fast-moving emerging economies. Developing your own business plan with peer-to-peer feedback is the capstone learning experience of this course.

This course will expose learners to an unparalleled network of business academics at Harvard Business School (HBS), as well as Africa’s top business leaders. Each week participants will engage with course content and readings, and the week will end with a live webinar section that includes HBS faculty and leaders from the African business community. In addition, each student has the option to participate in the course’s week-by-week business plan development process. Students will have the opportunity to submit a final business plan for review and critique at the end of the course. The best plans will be judged by a highly qualified jury comprised of African business professionals. 

Course content draws upon HBS case studies and student-tested and reviewed courses, including the world-renowned Entrepreneurship in Emerging Markets course that has reached over half a million learners in 200 countries, and HBS’s four-day intensive MBA course, Africa Rising: Understanding Business, Entrepreneurship, and the Complexities of a Continent. Africa Live! will serve thousands of learners from Africa and across the globe.

In order to make this course accessible to the widest possible audience, there are a limited number of scholarships available. Scholarships are available on a need basis.


  • Jorge Paulo Lemann Professor, Harvard Business School; Director of the South Asia Institute, Harvard University
  • Professor of History and Visiting Professor of Business Management, HBS Harvard University
  • Charles Edward Wilson Professor of Business Administration, Harvard University

Associated Schools

  • Harvard Business School

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