Despite the huge potentials present in Africa, the continent has failed to live up to her true status and basically depends on imported technological innovations to grow.
Recently, there has been an increase in technological startups in Africa due to the massive involvement of players such as founders and investors.
This improvement has led to the creation of African made technological solutions tailored to solve some lingering problems in some of the major sectors and industries in Africa.
Technological solutions created by entrepreneurs have given birth to the development of new markets, created employment, and opened streams of incomes which ultimately contributes to the GDP of a country.
But for the Africa continent to truly grow and harness the power of technology effectively, there should be a system in place that will teach everything about entrepreneurship and this and many more is what the Futuris Institute METI program is all about.
CFAmedia team caught up with Dr Lotfi Belkhir, Director, Futuris Institute where he explained everything about the institute and how Nigerians can benefit immensely from the METI program.
Futuris Institute the ideal post-secondary institution for Africans
Lotfi started by stating that the Algerian based FUTURIS Institute is a private post-secondary institution that focuses on hands-on entrepreneurship-by-doing education.
He also stated that the institution offers a 2-year Master in Entrepreneurship, Innovation & Technologies also known as METI.
“Unlike most entrepreneurship programs in the world, the METI is a program where the students actually create and launch their own technology startup during the duration of the program itself”, Lotfi stressed
Difference between Futuris Institute and other accelerators/incubations programs
The director elaborated on the difference between futurist Institute and accelerator/incubation programs which according to him entrepreneurship and innovation today have grown into both a science and an art that require in-depth training by experienced pracademics (i.e. seasoned practitioners with strong academic credentials and pedagogical skills).
Incubators and accelerators according to him, provide helpful coaching and mentorship but fall way short in teaching their students the know-how needed by their entrepreneurs to maximize their chances of success in this extremely competitive arena.
“Unlike incubators and accelerators that recruit already formed startup teams, have a well-defined project and work to provide to the legal, business and sometimes financial support to help them grow and succeed the FUTURIS Institute comes further upstream in the process, and facilitates the formation and nurturing of the startup from its inception, gestation and all the way to the pre-incubation stage. As such, it represents an essential and currently missing link from the innovation ecosystem of almost every African country,”
“Our METI program, an inspiration from the award-winning program at McMaster University, in Canada, will deliver both the technical and managerial skills to equip our students with the deep expertise in both the hard and soft skills required to compete with even the best and most innovative startups in the world.” Lotfi maintained.
Facilitating the growth of entrepreneurship in Nigeria and indeed Africa
When it comes to facilitating the growth of entrepreneurs in Nigeria (and indeed Africa) Lotfi explained the vision of the institute and why the institute is well-positioned to help Nigerians unleash their entrepreneurial potentials.
“Our vision is to see our graduate students go back to their countries of origin, create success stories and pay it forward by staying connected with Futuris Institute and becoming our future mentors, ambassadors and even teachers,” Lotfi explained.
“We strongly believe that over a fairly short time, this would result in the emergence of a genuinely African and independent ecosystem of innovation and entrepreneurship, based on mutual respect, trust, and equity, between fellow African countries, and that caters for the social and economic needs as well as the welfare of its indigenous populations of the continent.” He noted
Requirement needed in joining the institute
Lotfi noted that it is very easy for applicants in any African country to apply for the METI program.
“It’s very simple and interested candidates should fill out an Application Request Form from our website and provided their university major fits our criteria.
They will receive from our administrator a detailed application form for them to fill out and include all the other required documents in the application itself.” He maintained
He further explained that the admission criteria are the same for students from Nigeria and Algeria or any other African country and outlined all the requirements needed to join.
“Prospective student has to have earned at least a bachelor in a STEM (Sciences, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics) discipline, have a genuine interest in starting their own technology startup, meet our admission guidelines which include GPA and reference letters, and successfully pass an interview by our admission committee.” He clarified.
Difference between Futuris and other education institutions in Africa
Lotfi explained that the key differentiator of our program is what we call the “tollgate” process, where the startup team has to successfully go through 3 major phases of development of their startup during the two-year program.
“Students complete each phase of the program by defending their project before an evaluation committee composed by two faculty advisors and two mentors (technical and business) who are industry experts in the same field as the startup team.
As far as I know, I don’t know of any educational institute in the world that gathers all these elements into a single program.” He stressed.
Benefits put in place by the institution for graduating students
Lotfi explained that the institute will not send the graduating students back to their respective countries with just their certificates.
“As part of our core principles, we don’t make any decisions for our students. How could we claim to shape leaders if we tell them what to do with their projects?”
We’re here to equip them with the skills, competencies, and mindset, and then guide them,” Lotfi explained.
“From the start of the program, whether in the course of selecting their startup project or their team members, we put them in the driver seat and expect them to own 100% of their decisions.
While we provide them with a list of qualified mentors, we encourage them to find and attract their own, as long as they meet our criteria.”
While we expect many students to go back to their original countries, we also expect and hope that the mixed teams will stand out and start a more regional and even global market perspective.”
Whatever ends up happening, it’s up to our young leaders to decide, and we’re confident that it’s going to be for the betterment of all the African people and the world,” Lotfi concluded.
Featured Image: Dr Lotfi Belkhir, Director, Futuris Institute
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