In May, MIT Global Startup Labs (MIT-GSL) asked Olumide Ogunlana, co-founder of one of its successful startups PrepClass, to share his experience with MIT-GSL workshop in Nigeria.
PrepClass, co-founded by Ogunlana and Obanor Chukwuwezam, was named one of Fast Company's Top 10 Most Innovative Companies in Africa this year. In an article, the magazine describe the startup as “an online portal for students preparing for standardized tests in Nigeria such as the JAMB, WAEC, GCE, or NECO.”
MIT-GSL is a multidisciplinary group of MISTI (MIT International Science and Technology Initiatives) that promotes entrepreneurship in developing countries. The program designs curriculum materials, software, and networks to help undergraduate entrepreneurs create innovative information and communication technologies.
During his visit, Ogunlana met with faculty, staff, and students at the Legatum Center, the Sloan African Business Club, the 100K Entrepreneurship Competition club, the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, and the MIT Media Lab. At a MIT-GSL dinner, held for local stakeholders, Ogunlana discussed the role MIT-GSL played in the founding of his company. “If not for the MIT-GSL instructors who came to Nigeria,” he said, “the team would not have pursued entrepreneurship, met or built PrepClass.”
At each of their international partners, MIT-GSL sends a team of four MIT student-instructors, led by an MIT Sloan School of Management student, or a Sloan Fellow, to guide top university students through a real-world entrepreneurial experience. MIT-GSL courses focus on ideation, market research, pitching, and appropriate technology platforms, culminating with a pitch and prototype competition.
MIT-GSL has held programs in more than 16 countries since its founding in 2001. An impressive 58 percent of MIT-GSL graduates go on to launch profitable companies. In 2013, one of MIT-GSL's graduates, Mark Kaigwa, was named to Forbes' list of top entrepreneurs in Africa.
This year, MIT-GSL will hold programs in Sri Lanka, India, Malaysia, South Africa, Mexico, and Peru with plans for expansion in 2015.