ACCRA, Ghana Oct 13 – Kenyan low cost private school Bridge International Academies came up second best at the Africa Awards for Entrepreneurs at a lavish ceremony held at Ghana’s State House in Accra on Thursday night.
The schools, where students pay only Sh400 per month, won favour from the judges due to its ingenuity and contribution to social well being.
Often referred to as a ‘school in a box’, the group of academies earned Sh 4.2 million as prize money for their efforts.
The award was picked up by the schools co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer Shannon May.
Since 2009, May and her team have been scouting for land, building structures and schooling children from underprivileged backgrounds.
Having started with a single pupil, Bridges International now has 83 schools across the country catering for 26,000 pupils.
The schools are mostly scattered in the village and in slum areas, and they study the 8-4-4 syllabus.
“The schools run from 7.30 am to 5 pm. All the school children have books and the teachers live about 500 metres from the schools. When we rate our students with those in government schools, their performance is actually much better,” she said in an exclusive interview with Capital FM News.
Bridge International Academies came second to Senegalese business La Laiterie du Berger – a dairy processing company that sources and processes milk from semi-nomadic Fulani pastoralists living along the Senegal River.
CEO Bagore Bathily’s company provides a living for more than 600 families who otherwise had no steady income, securing the Transformational Business Award.
Other winners were SecureID from Nigeria and CEO Kofo Akinkugbe picked up the Sh 8.5 million cash prize in the Outstanding Small and Growing Business category.
Quality Chemicals from Uganda won top prize in the Outstanding Mature Business category, while South African mogul Richard Maponya won the Lifetime Achievement Award.
The awards were sponsored by Omidyar Network, Legatum and Equity Bank.