Prior to INSEAD, I had worked for four years in financial markets advisories in the US, and by coming to INSEAD, I always hoped that I would be able to do something that I had never done and go somewhere that I had never been. A summer at African Leadership Finance Company (ALFC) in Nairobi, Kenya hit two birds with one stone with the help of the INSEAD Social Impact Award. The reason for doing this internship was threefold:
It’s true that time flies when you’re having fun. Within the blink of an eye, I spent six weeks in Nairobi, Kenya, working at ALX, an education and talent development platform. I first came across this opportunity from an INSEAD classmate, Sue Xu, who like me, is keen on exploring a career in social impact. She had previously spoken to Victoria Peil, the head of ALX, and who happens to be the elder sister of another classmate, Christina. Sue then put me in touch with Victoria, and not long after, I was having a video interview with her.
Before I talk about my experience, I want to tell you about Ahmed (name changed). Ahmed graduated with a degree in hydraulic engineering from the UAE, before completing a traineeship with the Ministry of Agriculture in Gaza. Unsure about his career goals, he decided to open a supermarket with his brother, where he was the general manager in charge of inventory management, customer service and financial record keeping.
Having regarded my past few months at INSEAD as experimental grounds, the MBA’s 2-month break felt like an exciting new experimentation window. And with a “single” professional 4-year experience in management consulting, an internship seemed like the perfect opportunity to test new professional variables around sector and work setup.
This summer I had the wonderful and kind-of-unexpected opportunity to work in an impact investing company called Creas S.A. I say “unexpected” because to be honest, three months ago I wouldn’t have believed that I was going to be writing this post: one week before the summer break I still didn’t have any internship lined up!
I spent my summer in Nairobi, Kenya, interning at ALX, which I refer to as an education startup, but which is ultimately much more than just that. ALX is on a mission to transform Africa by developing and connecting a new generation of ethical, entrepreneurial leaders.
It’s been almost three weeks since we kicked off our startup tour and we’ve been to Berlin, Amsterdam, and now London before heading to our last stop in Paris. We were lucky enough to have met a lot of cool companies and entrepreneurs on the way.
It is not just because we coincidentally went on a startup tour this summer. Entrepreneurship is more tempting than ever thanks to the infrastructure and systems in place today. Whether you have a brilliant idea or not, it doesn’t matter anymore. There is support available for any and every kind of profile that was not possible just a few years ago. Here, we try and jot down reasons (and super cool start-ups) that got us excited about being an entrepreneur and hopefully this excites you too.
Winnow is addressing a problem that weighs approximately 1.3 billion tonnes each year. That’s over four times heavier than the weight of every person on earth combined. What could possibly be that heavy? The food wasted every year, or about one-third of all food produced. It’s a $1 trillion problem globally and it costs $100 billion to the hospitality industry alone.