Business News of Monday, 4 February 2013
Mr Austin Okere, Chief Executive Officer of Computer Warehouse Group (CWG) has participated as an instructor at the Steve Blank “Lean Launch Pad” Class, at Columbia Business School (CBS), New York.
The Lean Launch Pad is joining forces with Startup Weekend, Udacity, TechStars and Startup America to offer some of the world’s most effective experiential entrepreneurship education.
By combining content from the world’s leading expert in customer development with local mentors and leaders in an intensive flipped-classroom style course, the movement has been able to create a unique, effective experience for teams of entrepreneurs that are serious about growing a customer-driven startup.
The programme is already being offered in 15 cities around the world, with another 25 programmes launching in February.
It is aimed to expand the programme to more than 100 cities this year.
The Eugene Lang Entrepreneurial Centre at CBS, where Mr Okere has been a guest lecturer since 2009, conveyed in their invitation their belief that his experience and contribution to entrepreneurial ship in emerging markets would provide unparalleled contribution to the class of aspiring entrepreneurs.
The Computer Warehouse Group, whose case study is a regular feature at Columbia Business School and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston, as well as many other institutions in Africa, including the prestigious Lagos Business School, chronicles the trials, challenges and triumph of entrepreneurship in the challenging environment that characterises Sub Saharan Africa.
The Lean Launch Pad course provides real world, hands-on learning on what it is like to actually start a high-tech company.
It is a practical class where the goal is to create an entrepreneurial experience with all of the pressures and demands of the real world in an early stage start up.
The syllabus for the course is drawn majorly from the bestselling book, The Startup Owner’s Manual, co-authored by serial entrepreneurs Steve Blank and Bob Dorf, and the revolutionary new book, Business Model Generation co-authored by Alexander Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur.
The course provides a comprehensive step-by-step guide to getting startups right. It walks entrepreneurs through the customer development process that gets them out of the building to develop wining products that customers will buy.
“I believe that it is better to have a thousand millionaires than ten billionaires. It is better still to have a million people with access to a hundred thousand dollars, if they can be taught how to nurture and grow it through entrepreneurial endeavour; and I intend to do something about it, so when I was invited, I did not hesitate in accepting, with a view to bringing the concept to Africa,” Mr Okere said.
Mr Okere whose entrepreneurial advocacy has taken him on similar teaching expeditions across Africa; through Nigeria, Kenya and Tanzania also remarked“I like to put the story of the Computer Warehouse Group out there because such success stories contribute immensely to the attraction of capital to the region.”
He has made quite a name for himself over the past 20 years, growing the Computer Warehouse Group into a $130 million revenue company, with 650 staff spread across Nigeria, Ghana, Uganda and Cameroon.