Amazing news: Bridge International Academies here in Nairobi are runner up for the Outstanding Small and Growing Business Award in the Africa Awards for Entrepreneurship, given out by the Africa Leadership Network (ALN).
From the press release: 'Bridge International Academies was the runner-up for the Outstanding Small and Growing Business Award, also a prize of USD50,000, and a commendation from the African Leadership Network. In 2007 the company developed a strategy that would allow it to launch a large-scale network of high-quality, ultra low-cost, for-profit private schools. The concept 'school-in-a-box' has enabled children to receive high-quality education for USD4 per child per month and has the biggest chain of low-cost private schools in Africa that run 80 academies in Kenya with over 25,000 students.'
I've met and interviewed Shannon May - who founded and runs Bridge together with her husband and a third partner - a few times and she's utterly impressive, frighteningly well informed, and also very very lovely to boot. It's an amazing company: quality education for a fee that's roughly equal to what parents pay in 'desk fees', 'motivation fees' etc in the so-called free primary education. It's a for-profit model (albeit initially funded with some patient capital), which means that its growth is not dependent on donations. And it's probably one of the fastest-growing companies in Kenya: they went from a handful employees to 1,200 in three years.