2017: "A Year of Action. A Year of Academies"

Posted on 05/28/2018 at 09:07AM

By the end of 2017, we have realized a total of 41 academies. The first “general” academy took place in December 2009 and was the only one in that year, 2017 was a record-setting year with 12 academies under different themes and with the support of various sponsors. Reason enough to put our Annual Report 2017, which will be published shorty, under the theme “A Year of Action. A Year of Academies” Take a first glimpse into the report and enjoy reading an advance publication summary of our academies in 2017:

Realize Your Potential Academy
When & Where: 17 – 21 April 2017, Watamu, Kenya
Target Group: AiduTalents at the beginning of their scholarship
Sponsor: Lions Club Basel-Wenkenhof
Key topics: Introduction to Aiducation, Building a better Kenya, Academic excellence, Career guidance
Special about the academy: This is the “mother” of all of our academies, it helps onboard all AiduTalents who have recently received a scholarship and delivers the original idea of the “education to aid” concept.

BDO Financial Literacy Academy
When & Where: 3 – 7 April 2017, Watamu, Kenya
Target Group: AiduTalents at all stages of their scholarship
Sponsor: BDO AG, Zurich
Key topics: The Art of Budgeting, Profit & Loss, Budgeting & Planning, Case studies
Special about this academy: This Academy takes place every two years together with managers from BDO Kenya and BDO Switzerland.

What is Next Academy
When & Where: 22 – 23 April 2017, Watamu, Kenya
Target Group: AiduTalents at their end of their scholarship
Sponsor: FKM Management Consultants
Key topics: Job Search, job interviews, teambuilding, AiduLink and AiduTalent
Special about this academy: This short 2-days academy brings together AiduTalents who have recently graduated from high school to refresh contacts, exchange ideas, and plan the next steps in their professional development.

Four Swiss Re Start-up academies
When & Where: April, November and December in Watamu or Nairobi (Kenya) and in Manila (Philippines)
Target Group: AiduTalents interested in entrepreneurship
Sponsor: Swiss Re
Key Topics: Entepreneurship and Start-up Spirit
Special about this academy: Young, eager, and entrepreneurial AiduTalents, who received high school scholarships from Aiducation team up to turn their business ideas into start-up ventures ready to take off. Each team receives tailored support from an exceptional mixture of speakers and mentors comprised of Kenyan entrepreneurs and international Swiss Re staff.

Swiss Re Corporate Career Academy
When & Where: 27 Nov – 1 Dec 2017, Nairobi (Kenya)
Target Group: AiduTalents about to enter the job market
Key topics: Career Path, CV Writing, Interview Skills, Corporate Behaviour and Ethics
Sponsor: Swiss Re
Special about the academy: Entepreneurial AiduTalents who are about to enter the job market get a chance to analyse their own personality as well as the job market and receive one week of training before they meet Kenya’s top employers at a career fair.

Entrepreneurship Academy
When & Where: 4 – 8 Dec 2017, Nairobi (Kenya)
Target Group: AiduTalents with their own business who have successfully completed a Start-Up Academy and have received funding from the start-up fund.
Sponsor: Swiss Re
Key topics: Financial Management, effective marketing & sales strategy, business strategy, managing your workforce
Special about the academy: This annual academy targets only Entrepreneurs among our pool of AiduTalents who have received funding from Aiducation’s Start-Up Fund. During the week, entrepreneurs exchange their experiences, refresh and deepen some of the key entrepreneurship concepts from the Start-Up Academy, and deep-dive into the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats, and strategies of their own business.

Synpulse Project Management Academy
When & Where: 28 May – 3 June 2017, Manila (Philippines)
Target Group: AiduTalents
Key topics: Presentation Skills, Internet Research, MS Office for Project Managers, Analysis and Planning, Decision Making
Sponsor: Synpulse
Special about the academy: This Academy takes place every two years together with Synpulse and so far is only in the Philippines.

Swiss Study Foundation Academy
When & Where: 3 – 17 July, 2017, Nairobi (Kenya)
Target Group: Swiss and Kenyan scholars
Sponsor: Swiss Study Foundation
Key topics: “Tackling Present Challenges in Energy and Mobility – The case of Kenya and Switzerland”
Special about this academy: Joint academy between the Swiss Study Foundation (15 Swiss students) and Aiducation International (30 Kenyan students).

1st Soft Skills/Leadership Academy, EY Switzerland
When & Where: 24 – 28 July 2017, Nairobi (Kenya)
Target Group: Kenyan scholars at all stages of their scholarship
Sponsor: EY Switzerland
Key topics: Public Speaking, Business Ethics, People Management, Project, Strategic, critical and out-of-the-box thinking, teamwork Self Branding & Social Media, Client Management, Effective Communication
Special about the academy: This was the first academy together with EY Switzerland and EY Kenya.

Interview with Peter Grewal on his experiences at the Swiss Re Startup Academy – Philippines December 2017

Posted on 03/16/2018 at 06:06PM

Interview: Andrew Vallejo-Sanderson

Peter Grewal, CRO Reinsurance, volunteered to be a mentor for Swiss Re Startup Academy. This interview will give you some of his insights and thoughts on his experience, startups, innovation, and how it can apply to business. He highly recommends that everyone apply to be a mentor because “it was one of the most rewarding weeks of my life.”

What is vision of the Swiss Re Startup Academy?

The Swiss Re Startup Academy is funded by the Swiss Re Foundation, organized by Reinsurance Finance, and facilitated by our partner Aiducation International (

During a one-week course high-potential students in Kenya and the Philippines gain skills to develop a comprehensive business plan and become successful entrepreneurs. During each academy, Swiss Re mentors volunteer to deliver lectures, workshops, and 1 to 1 mentoring sessions with students.


Posted on 03/16/2018 at 05:40PM

Interview: Cynthia Brauchli and Florian Kapitza

Collins journey into entrepreneurship started with an Aiducation scholarship that financed Collin’s high school education from 2009 onwards. Now, eight years later he has successfully launched Moshua General Suppliers, a local Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) specializing in graphic designing, printing, branding and general supplies just as the name suggests. In an interview, he tells us more about how everything started and what role Aiducation played in the success of his business.

How did you come up with your business idea?
Just after high school, I went out to a shop to get a writing pad and I found the owner making calls looking for someone who could create a logo and brand his business. I was reminded of a friend I had taken a bus with sometime back on my way to school who told me about branding and graphic design. I asked the guy to give me the job and luckily, he did and that was my light-bulb moment.

Was this a project you have always dreamt of launching?
When I turned eight my father got fired and my mother had just given birth to our last born. These were tough times for my family, but from that experience I promised myself to not subject myself to the mercies of an employer. I always dreamed of starting a business, but I didn’t have a clear vision until my light-bulb moment.

What role did Aiducation play in the success of your business?
I have found in Aiducation a true and trustworthy partner not just in business but also in carving the person that I am today. The numerous Academies I have attended were not only an eye opener but also fanned my entrepreneurial spark to be the flame that burns to even today. I have also found the exposure and networking platforms greatly invaluable.

Were there any challenges you were facing when you started your project?
Yes. Starting a small business in Kenya is always tough. There is complex bureaucracy that’s very discouraging especially when registering a new business; I also didn’t have enough money to take care of my initial expenses. It was also a big challenge for me to establish a good customer rapport due to the fact that I didn’t have experience in that field.

What is the most memorable feedback you have ever received on your project?
Last year during the elections, a client approached me with strict timelines. They needed to have 1000 posters in less than 10 hours. I was doubtful I could deliver, but I accepted the challenge and marshaled three friends who are in the same business as me. The job was done in less than 8 hours. The client was so pleased he offered to pay my rent for the next month!

What are the future plans for Moshua General Suppliers?
I hope to grow Moshua General Suppliers into a self-sustainable company within the next few years and one day list it in the Nairobi Stock Exchange market. This year we are planning to re-brand ourselves into a model branding agency specializing in digital branding and high-tech printing. We plan to also purchase the large format printing machine in the near future.

You have participated at the first Swiss Re Entrepreneurship Academy in December 2017. Do you think this was an added value for you and your business and would you recommend it to other entrepreneurs of Aiducation?
The Swiss Re Entrepreneurship Academy is by far the best Academy I have attended. The financial literacy lectures were quite insightful and the Mentors teachings and advice was indispensable. I would recommend the Academy to any budding entrepreneur.

I bet on art and got investors to buy into my idea

Posted on 02/28/2018 at 09:34PM

this text was written by Mona Ombogo and published online on 17 January 2018 at Standard Digital.

Peter Safari is an AiduAlumnus and the founder of Sephrin Art, our 15th Start-up in the Start-up Fund. He got featured in the Standard, one of the two major newspapers in Kenya.

The Internet has undoubtedly changed how we live, read, watch our
favourite shows and even how we shop. Almost anything can be acquired
from the comfort of one’s home. Capitalising on this growing trend is Safari Peter Wanje, who runs an online art platform, Sephrin Art.

At 23, Safari has managed to build a website that will host several
artists looking to grow their brand and increase sales. Though still in its beta stages, Safari got an investment offer of Sh1.5 million from Olive Gachara on the TV show, KCB Lions’ Den. Safari takes
Hustle through the vision he has for Sephrin Art.

It’s difficult to get investment, especially if an idea is not off the
ground yet, so how did you do it?

My Diploma Thesis: supported by Aiducation and its AiduMakers

Posted on 01/31/2018 at 02:57PM

Written by Cynthia Brauchli, Aiducator Switzerland.

For my Diploma Thesis at the University HFT Lucerne, I had the chance to invite some AiduMakers to an online survey concerning a potential Donor’s Trip. The goal of the survey, conducted last year in July, was to evaluate the need for a Donor’s Trip to visit both students or an Aiducation project in either Kenya or the Philippines. Despite a response rate of only 10% (43 responses out of 432 contacted AiduMakers), the majority of those who did respond would be interested in such a Donor’s Trip. Here are the detailed results: