Working with young Africans to develop a culture of entrepreneurship, innovation and creativity can help to address some of the continent’s key development challenges. The British Council’s Entrepreneurial Africa programme provides support and opportunities to emerging entrepreneurs, to foster the development of new skills and unlock their potential to contribute to a new Africa.

Encouraging entrepreneurship and social enterprise

Promoting innovation and social impact.

Supporting emerging entrepreneurs

Providing opportunities for entrepreneurs to become investment ready.

Connecting Africa and the UK

Connecting African entrepreneurs to the UK and with each other.

By 2020, Entrepreneurial Africa will: 

• promote entrepreneurship amongst 70 million young Africans 

• equip 60,000 young entrepreneurs with the skills to scale their businesses

• support ten per cent of engaged entrepreneurs to secure equity financing 

• stimulate collaboration between entrepreneurs and start-ups in Africa and the UK 

• facilitate policy change and new approaches to entrepreneurship in Africa and collaboration between the UK and African ecosystems.  

How it Works

The British Council’s Entrepreneurial Africa programme works across four key areas of activity.


The Enterprise Challenge series is a set of national televised competitions where passionate entrepreneurs pitch their business plans to expert investor panels with the aim of securing technical and financial support to make their dreams a reality. The most innovative and sustainable ideas secure financing, mentoring and partnership opportunities. In Ghana the competition is known as The Challenge, in Nigeria Enterprise Challenge, in Senegal Great Entrepreneur, in Sudan Mashrouy, and in South Africa Dreamtrepreneur.


We facilitate connections between entrepreneurs and mentors across Africa and the UK. Our partnership with the Mara Mentor platform connects entrepreneurs with top business leaders online and via mobile. Face-to-face mentoring opportunities are offered through expert panels and our partner networks in-country. 


Targeted training provides entrepreneurs with the core skills and know-how to develop successful businesses. Business clinics offer entrepreneurs direct, practical feedback on how to overcome bottlenecks and scale their enterprises. 


National and international events give entrepreneurs the opportunity to connect and network with industry experts and experienced entrepreneurs, while stakeholders from the UK and African ecosystems get the chance to share experiences and create partnership opportunities.


The Challenge competition in Ghana was a TV competition that awarded winners with scholarships to study in the UK.

The aim was to develop leadership skills in young Ghanaians (aged between 24 and 35 years old) through training.  With 5,000 applicants and almost 3,000,000 people in total reached throughout the country, the competition has won the involvement of various organisations, partners and sponsors.

For further information visit the British Council Ghana Facebook page.


The Enterprise Challenge in Nigeria was an online competition organised in partnership with Virgin Atlantic, Zenith Bank and Samsung West Africa.

The objective of the competition was to provide a platform for young Nigerians to showcase their entrepreneurial skills, innovative business ideas and solutions.

Winners received mentoring sessions with Sir Richard Branson and Nigerian entrepreneurs, a business support grant to develop their businesses, and training from the Branson Centre for Entrepreneurship in South Africa.

Over the last two cycles more than 12,000 young Nigerians have entered the competition, and millions of young Nigerians have engaged with it via social media.

For further information visit the British Council Nigeria Facebook page.


In Senegal, The Great Entrepreneurship was the first televised entrepreneurship competition of its kind.  Its aim was to support the development of young Senegalese business leaders who were helping the development of the country through their business ideas and social values.

Almost six million young Senegalese have been reached through TV and internet.  Valuable training was provided to 37 selected entrepreneurs and rewards offered to the top five competition winners.  

For further information visit the British Council Senegal Facebook page.

South Africa

South Africa’s pilot Dreamtrepreneur challenge received no less than 500 applications.

Entries were assessed to find the top 10 best business ideas and the finalists attended a course at the Branson Centre. The two final winners were awarded R40 000 cash, a R140 000 digital marketing package, a trip to London for Global Entrepreneurship Week and a personal mentoring session with Sir Richard Branson.

For further information visit the British Council South Africa Facebook page.


Mashrouy was a televised business plan competition that took place in Sudan. Its concept was originally put in place by the British Embassy, British Council and the Sudanese Young Businessmen Association.

Over a period of two years, around 4,600 applications were received from young entrepreneurs.  Mashrouy has reached over 10 million Sudanese through television, press and social media. 

Business skills training was offered to over 1,500 young people across Sudan and several exchange visits to Sudan were organised for UK entrepreneurs and professors of enterprise to help transfer skills and knowledge, as well as promoting entrepreneurship widely. Furthermore, a mentoring scheme was developed through the Mashrouy club, forum and business clinic to enhance business knowledge and practices.

For further information visit the British Council Sudan Facebook page.

Further information

For more information about Entrepreneurial Africa please contact Genevieve Kebe.