Action Learning

Expanding Access to Schools in Africa

Credit: Kimberly Farmer

G-LAB

Filling an education gap

LiquidAfrica Holdings Limited is a boutique investment bank focused on raising private equity capital for growing African companies. Recognizing a gap in the African education market between high-quality – but expensive – private schools and low-quality public schools, LiquidAfrica tapped G-Lab to define a business plan for acquiring existing schools and upgrading them to a target business model.

Laying the groundwork for new schools

The G-Lab team began by conducting a benchmarking analysis to better understand the existing education market in Francophone Central Africa. Students identified the most attractive markets and developed a list of schools that could be acquisition targets. The team also provided LiquidAfrica with a list of potential investors and a dynamic financial model to help the company make go/no-go decisions.

Ongoing partnership

This project was so successful that LiquidAfrica’s chairman, Cyrille Nkontchou, and G-Lab team member Eric Pignot co-founded Enko Education, an Africa-wide network of international secondary schools. LiquidAfrica also funded the seed round for Enko Education, which now operates eight schools in five African countries, including Côte d’Ivoire, Cameroon, Senegal, Mozambique, and South Africa. Those schools offer high-quality international education to more than 800 students and employ 150 people across these locations. Recently, Pignot asked another G-Lab team to analyze the pros and cons of expanding the business to include vocational training. “I think G-Lab is an amazingly well-organized program,” Pignot said. “The quality of the projects is really impressive, and for all students who are interested in entrepreneurship in emerging markets, it’s just a no-brainer.”