News & Highlights

  • APRIL 2019

HBS New Venture Competition

Wil Eyi (MBA 2019) from Gabon was awarded one of the top prizes in this year’s New Venture Competition. His venture, MyToolbox Technologies, is a B2B labor marketplace for the construction industry that provides a platform where subcontractors can secure work and empower their workers. MyToolbox Technologies received The Dubilier $75,000 Grand Prize as well as the $5,000 Crowd Favorite Prize. The annual Harvard Business School New Venture Competition is open to all students and alumni interested in launching new business and social impact ventures. The School’s Arthur Rock Center for Entrepreneurship and its Social Enterprise Initiative, in partnership with HBS Alumni Clubs & Associations, host the annual competition. This year, 266 teams entered and 12 finalist teams competed in the 22nd annual HBS New Venture Competition that took place in Klarman Hall on April 23rd. The new venture pitches were vetted by more than 200 judges, including many HBS graduates, from fields such as venture capital, private equity, law, accounting, philanthropy, impact investing, and social entrepreneurship.
  • FEBRUARY 2019

2019 Africa Business Conference

The 2019 Africa Business Conference was held on February 15 and 16, 2019 at Harvard Business School. This year's theme, "Africa Forward: Forging New Alliances for the Future" was chosen given key economic and geopolitical events across the continent in 2018, including the signing of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement and the landmark peace deal between Ethiopia and Eritrea. Over 1,200 guests attended the conference, attending diverse panels on private equity, healthcare, entertainment, consumer goods, and infrastructure on the continent. Guests also heard keynote addresses from Dr. Agnes Binagwaho, Vice Chancellor of the University of Global Health Equity and former Minister of Health of the Republic of Rwanda; Mr. Vincent Le Guennou (MBA 1997), Managing Director, Founding Partner and Co-CEO of Emerging Capital Partners; and Mr. Momar Nguer, President of Marketing & Services, Total S.A., and Member of the Total Executive Committee. The Africa Business Club also hosted the New Venture Competition, highlighting the diversity of entrepreneurs on the continent today. Ship’nbag, an automated matching marketplace fulfilled by travelers who buy and ship orders on their way back and thus provide a secured low-cost shipping service, won the first prize after a careful review of hundreds of applications.
  • JANUARY 2019

MBA Curriculum Spotlight: Africa Rising - Understanding Business, Entrepreneurship, and the Complexities of a Continent

For the second time in January 2019, Hakeem Belo-Osagie (MBA 1980) and Professor Caroline Elkins co-taught the Short Intensive Program: Africa Rising: Understanding Business, Entrepreneurship, and the Complexities of a Continent. Belo-Osagie explained, “Alumni and practitioners like myself who can't easily take months off to teach an entire course can do all the preparation at home and fly in for a week…We're meeting with the next generation, hearing how they're thinking about things, and how they're reacting, and that is invigorating.” This short, January course is designed to introduce HBS students to the complexities of Africa –economic, sociological, and historical – and the ways in which these Africa-specific trends impact the opportunities and challenges in undertaking business and entrepreneurship ventures on the continent today. Drawing upon the active participation of prominent African alumni as well as others with expertise in the field, Africa Rising offers big picture understandings of the continent, and the ways in which its past informs the present.
  • DECEMBER 2018

Friends of Harvard Abidjan

In December 2018 Professor John Macomber and Director of the Africa Research Office, Pippa Armerding, travelled to Abidjan in Coté dÍvoire where they hosted the Friends of Harvard Abidjan event for fifty Harvard HBS and Harvard alumni and local business leaders. The event commenced with discussions of Harvard Business School’s activities in Africa and the work of the research office. Professor Macomber presented the published “Infrastructure in Nigeria: Unlocking Pension Fund Investments” case study. Chinua Azubike, Managing Director and CEO of InfraCredit and protagonist of the case, shared insights on the case and participated in the discussions.

New Research on the Region

  • 2012
  • Case

Advanced Leadership Pathways: Richard Fahey and Robert Saudek (A): Lighting Liberia

By: Rosabeth M. Kanter and Anne Arlinghaus

After successful careers as lawyers Richard Fahey and Robert Saudek set out to tackle a large-scale infrastructure challenge in a complex environment by increasing Liberian citizens’ access to lighting solutions. They developed the Liberian Energy Network, which aimed to distribute solar light fixtures to citizens across the country, including some of the most remote regions. Working in Liberia presented a large set of challenges and difficulties, however Fahey and Saudek persevered.

  • Forthcoming
  • Article
  • Nature Human Behavior

Alleviating Time Poverty Among the Working Poor: A Pre-Registered Longitudinal Field Experiment

By: A.V. Whillans and Colin West

Poverty entails more than a scarcity of material resources—it also involves a shortage of time. To examine the causal benefits of reducing time poverty, we will conduct a longitudinal field experiment in an urban slum in Kenya with a sample of working mothers, a population who is especially likely to experience severe time poverty. Participants will receive vouchers to use on services designed to reduce their burden of unpaid labor. The effect of these vouchers will be compared against in-kind vouchers that do not save time, equivalently valued unconditional cash transfers, and a neutral control condition. Using a pre-post design, we will measure whether time-saving vouchers influence subjective well-being and perceived stress. Additionally, we will explore the causal effects of reducing time poverty on cognitive functioning and economic decision-making. This research tests a new model of economic aid that recognizes both financial and temporal constraints.

  • March 2019
  • Teaching Material

KITEA (B): Getting Ready to Face IKEA

By: Ramon Casadesus-Masanell and Gamze Yucaoglu

The case opens in September 2015, when IKEA is about to open its first store in Morocco. It then chronicles the efforts of KITEA CEO Amine Benkirane and his son Othman between 2013 and 2015 to prepare KITEA for IKEA’s entry. After incurring losses for the first time in 2013, KITEA had bounced back and recorded profits and growth in 2014 and 2015. The improvements in supply chain management, product range, and relationships with stakeholders that the duo had been working on tirelessly seemed to be paying off. After an intense preparation period, was KITEA ready to face off against IKEA in Morocco?

See more research

Johannesburg Staff

Pippa Tubman Armerding
Executive Director
Dilyana Botha
Senior Researcher
Tafadzwa Choruma
Administrative, Research and Program Assistant