Online Hluma will train thousands of African entrepreneurs

11 February 2013
Online course: The GSB's Prof Walter Baets - "My dream is to have free education for all."
Online course: The GSB's Prof Walter Baets - "My dream is to have free education for all."

UCT's Graduate School of Business (GSB) is launching a new online learning course for African entrepreneurs, which will focus on the basics of business management and organisation in 'challenging contexts'. It has the potential to train thousands of entrepreneurs across Africa.

Participants will "learn by doing", creating learning communities, with the option of learning only what they need to run a successful business.

The course is aimed mostly at entrepreneurs with a business sense of what is termed "the forgotten middle", that is, people who have two to three entrepreneurs in their business and want to grow to a larger company.

It is the first online programme in the world launched as part of the United Nations Global Compact Prime programme.

GSB director Professor Walter Baets says this has been a passion for almost 15 years "My dream is to have free education for all."

He says the biggest challenges facing entrepreneurs in Africa today are education and access to finance.

"Online learning is big in its target market and big in its contribution to job creation, and there are a number of virtual teaching courses, but for this scale and target group, it's quite unique for UCT," said Baets.

"Africa needs more jobs and businesses. This course is in perfect vision with UCT's Afropolitan focus because it means that instead of Africans talking about taking our destiny into our own hands business wise, we're actually creating an easy platform to do so."

The GSB Hluma online course is free and open to anyone. However, for additional tutor support there will be a fee. Pilot courses will be launched in the upcoming weeks.

The course teaches the basics of management and the 'how to' of building a business plan. The 800 working hours required to complete the course is the equivalent of a Level 6 qualification.

"We're hoping the course will be certified, but for now the programme will be launched independently of certification," Baets said.

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