Skills and entrepreneurship in Africa

Encouraging entrepreneurship and social enterprise

We support efforts to enhance the skills and employability of young people across Sub-Saharan Africa. Working with partners, we design innovative ways to encourage young people to see entrepreneurship as an employment option. By giving young entrepreneurs access to training, business consulting and mentoring through local and international networks, we help them reach their potential in business.

The Entrepreneurial Africa programme

Since 2013, the British Council has run a series of Enterprise Challenges across Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa and Sudan. Broadcast on TV and online, these initiatives have directly engaged 12,000 young entrepreneurs and reached a further 20 million young people.  

Building on this success, our new Entrepreneurial Africa programme aims to encourage entrepreneurial skills, creativity and innovation among young Africans. It shows how, through entrepreneurship, young people can change the way they live and contribute to Africa’s socio-economic development. Entrepreneurial Africa also offers new ways for young Africans to connect with the UK to benefit both regions.

The Entrepreneurial Africa London Showcase

The Entrepreneurial Africa London Showcase (21-23 March 2016) provided an opportunity for young African entrepreneurs to connect with people in the London start-up community. By making relevant contacts the aim was to help entrepreneurs find potential partners to help scale up their businesses with organisations in London, in a mutually beneficial way.

During a three-day programme, 15 emerging entrepreneurs from the British Council’s Enterprise Challenge series attended training workshops, open talks with UK entrepreneurs and study tours. The entrepreneurs also had the opportunity to pitch their businesses and participate in a panel discussion on innovative approaches to supporting entrepreneurship in Africa.

You can read more about the London Showcase in the downloads section below.

Enterprise Challenges  

Find out more about the initiatives we have run in these countries:


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.