Young African Tech Entrepreneur: Teresa Mbagaya

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Teresa Mbagay

Tech Entrepreneur: Teresa Mbagaya

Sub-Saharan Africa has the highest female Total Entrepreneurial Activity  rate (27%) in the world. However, most new entrepreneurial ventures in Africa and the world will involve some use of computer technology. To prepare future citizens of sub-Saharan Africa to lead in the economies of the future, computer  technology will be extremely important. One such person leading the Technology and Education Revolution in Africa is Teresa Mbagaya. She was recently named one of the 30 Most Promising Young Entrepreneurs in Africa​ by Forbes Magazine.

Teresa Mbagaya was born in Kenya and graduated from Yale University. Thereafter she worked on several projects at Google including as Account Manager for Education where she was responsible for managing annual revenues of $80-100M, providing marketing solutions to global education clients, and designing short and long term growth strategies for such entities. In 2013 she was selected to lead the development of Econet Education in Zimbabwe, becoming the youngest Executive in the organization.

Teresa Mbagaya, the former head of Econet Education, launched several educational programs with mobile technology in Zimbabwe, including the EcoSchool project. Through the use of tablets and the EcoSchool app (software program) designed by Econet, students were given on-the-go and affordable access to world-class educational resources. Econet Education, offers free and reliable access to more than 50 online education services featuring video lectures by university faculty and other educational materials accessible to anyone, anywhere.

Teresa is currently with Microsoft as Education Lead for East and Southern Africa. Within this portfolio, she manages interests in Angola, Botswana, Burundi, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

I believe that there is a new foreign language that all African students, entrepreneurs and global citizens must embrace; computer programming language.  The jobs of the future are technology driven and behind every new technology is a computer program. Technology is the language without geographical boundaries. I believe that all students should be learning programming languages just the same way they learn Spanish, French and Mandarin. – Charlene Mutamba

Econet Education subjects range from test preparation to how to start a business, to agriculture, engineering, medicine, languages and music theory. The service even has an early education section that includes sites for kids run by National Geographic magazine and the American Public Broadcasting Service. Its EcoSchool section offers tablets on which students can access textbooks at low cost. The idea behind EcoSchool goes beyond simply making books available at a cheaper price, but is part of a larger strategy to help students and their lecturers gain access to materials and courses from across the globe. EcoSchool offers digital education for all, giving you access to quality information; anywhere, anytime.

EcoSchool is now utilized by students from 24 institutions of higher learning with user adoption expected to reach 25% of total tertiary enrolment in Kenya by the end of this year’s first fiscal quarter. Under Teresa’s ;  leadership she launched three education services (Econet Zero, EcoSchool and EcoSchool Academy) in Zimbabwe. Econet Zero targets 5 million Econet Broadband subscribers offering them free access to 50+ education websites including Coursera, EdX, Wikipedia, Codecademy and others; a global first for any Mobile Network Operator in scale. EcoSchool targets all tertiary institutions in Zimbabwe, an education platform that provides on-the-go, affordable, and reliable access to world-class educational content via the EcoSchool tablet. Recently, the business launched EcoSchool Academy to all 9 million subscribers, an interactive mobile learning environment which provides 50 short courses covering a range of topics. Econet Education has also reduced the costs for Medical Students in Zimbabwe, providing tablets on which they can access their textbooks at significant savings.

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