May 12, 2011, REDWOOD CITY, Calif. — Omidyar Network announced today it has committed $1.5 million over two years to African Leadership Academy (ALA), an institution dedicated to cultivating a new generation of African entrepreneurs. ALA will use the funding to strengthen its ability to identify promising young students, build its entrepreneur development program, and provide life-long support for a network of more than 6,000 leaders across Africa.
“Omidyar Network believes that entrepreneurship is a driving force for creating positive social impact,” said Arjuna Costa, Director of Investments at Omidyar Network. “By supporting Africans with great ambition, talent and leadership potential, ALA is enabling future entrepreneurs to pursue their ideas and ultimately accelerate social chance from within the continent.”
ALA addresses critical gaps in the support system for Africa’s future leaders. The academy provides a superior high school curriculum as well as access to opportunities in higher education, both of which are often unavailable to capable students. ALA graduates become part of a lifelong network that can be tapped for knowledge, ideas, connections and capital. ALA also fosters a commitment amongst its students to return to the continent and leverage their abilities to support the future of Africa.
ALA has attracted considerable talent since its creation in 2004; its campus represents 48 of Africa’s 53 countries. In June 2010, ALA graduated its inaugural class of 93 students, who received over $9.5 million in scholarship and were accepted into the world’s top universities, including Harvard, Stanford, and Oxford. Since 2008, it has accepted 400 students from a pool of over 9,000 applicants.
“Omidyar Network is a valuable partner to ALA; they understand the significance of nurturing an ecosystem for entrepreneurship in Africa similar to that of Silicon Valley,” said Fred Swaniker, founder of ALA. “With their support, ALA can grow a new generation of leaders that will shape the future of Africa.”
About African Leadership Academy
African Leadership Academy (ALA) seeks to transform Africa by developing a powerful network of leaders that can achieve extraordinary social impact. Each year, ALA brings together the most promising young leaders from all 54 African nations for its pre-university program in South Africa. Students complete a unique curriculum focused on leadership, entrepreneurship and African studies. ALA cultivates these leaders in university and beyond, providing ongoing leadership training and connecting them to people and capital that can catalyze large-scale change. For more information, visit, www.africanleadershipacademy.org.
About Omidyar Network
Omidyar Network is a philanthropic investment firm dedicated to harnessing the power of markets to create opportunity for people to improve their lives. Established in 2004 by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar and his wife Pam, the organization invests in and helps scale innovative organizations to catalyze economic and social change. To date, Omidyar Network has committed more than $400 million to for-profit companies and nonprofit organizations that foster economic advancement and encourage individual participation across multiple investment areas, including microfinance, property rights, consumer internet, mobile and government transparency. To learn more about Omidyar Network, visit www.omidyar.com.