“Is your belief in Africa’s future unshakable?” This question was asked in many different forms by Samuel Kitara ’20 MBA when he placed a phone call to each one of Yale Africa Startup Review’s seven co-founders.
From Germany, Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda, and South Africa, each one of us had faith in the remarkable stories of African entrepreneurs journeying to mold a working Africa. It was this faith that was lit up by Samuel’s question, and one by one, we said, “Let’s do this!”
That day, the Yale Africa Startup Review (YASR) was born.
YASR is an annual Yale-wide African student-led feature of startups shaping the future of innovation and entrepreneurship in Africa. The Review was born out of the shared desire of my colleagues and I to ensure the narrative of Africa’s innovation and entrepreneurship is included in the global startup ecosystem.
In addition to me, Samuel turned to his classmates and fellow Yalies Lina Kacyem ’21 MBA, Caroline van der Merwe ’20 MAM, Sharon Mwale ’16 MPH, Lukas Bosch ’22 MBA, Mabs Okusaga ’20 MAM to create YASR, thanks in part to the relationships formed during our time at Yale School of Management (SOM) – a time that presented us with many opportunities for interaction, and with it, the opportunity to dream big. From open discussions held in class, chance meetings at closing bells, and even adjoined lunch tables at Charley’s, we always found a platform to consider how our different cultures, beliefs, backgrounds, and knowledge could integrate and overlap.
We have each had the pleasure to be in one class or the other with each other, and we had identified the commonness and differences in how we live, experience, and communicate the African story. From our many different backgrounds, we chose to come together as one to stand for the tens of thousands of African entrepreneurs yearning to tell their stories.