MIT Announces 9 African Startup Challenge Finalists, and More – Boston News

African Startup

Let’s explore some of the most interesting stories that have emerged from Boston business schools this week.

These 9 African Startups are Working Toward a More Inclusive WorldMIT Sloan Newsroom

MIT Sloan recently announced the nine African startup finalists of The Initiative on the Digital Economy’s Inclusive Innovation Challenge, all of which use technology to “reinvent the future of work.”

Initiative Director Erik Brynjolfsson writes, “If we employ inclusive innovation globally, it could be the best thing that ever happened to humanity. We can have more wealth, better health, and widely held prosperity.”

Here are the 9 African finalists:

  • Wefarm provides a “mobile network accessed through SMS, where millions of small-scale farmers can share information.”
  • PrepClass connects students and tutors.
  • Wesabi connects “skilled laborers to individuals and businesses.”
  • Lynk is an “online platform that operates as a hiring service and also a showcase for artisans.”
  • Brave Venture Labs provides “talent sourcing software for growing companies.”
  • Moringa School “teaches software development and offers professional skills training.”
  • Safi Organics “provides small-scale farmers with affordable fertilizer for their crops.”
  • Solar Freeze “offers mobile cold-storage units for small farmers to help reduce crop spoilage.”
  • AgroCenta is a “digital platform for rural, small-scale farmers to connect with buyers and access financial services.”

The finalists, who will travel to Nairobi, Kenya in late August to “pitch their ideas at a regional competition,” were selected from almost 200 entrepreneurs from 16 countries.

You can read more about the African startup contenders here.

Collaborate, But Only Intermittently, According to New Study by Harvard Business School Professor and ColleaguesHarvard Business School News

HBS has published new PNAS research, which suggests that always-on technologies like Slack, email, and social media are less effective at complex problem solving than “intermittently on.”

HBS’s Ethan Bernstein, along with BU Questrom’s Jesse Shore, and Northeastern’s David Lazer believe their research could have widespread implications on the workplace, such as “alternating independent efforts with group work over a period of time to get optimal benefits.”

Bernstein writes, “As we replace those sorts of intermittent cycles with always-on technologies, we might be diminishing our capacity to solve problems well.”

You can read more about the research here.

Sizing up Markets, Peering into the FutureCarroll School News

BC Carroll recently hosted its annual Finance Conference in which financial experts delivered a surprisingly “upbeat forecast” on global investment, tech innovations, and cryptocurrencies.

Of the conference’s goals, John and Linda Powers Family Dean Andy Boynton ’78 writes, “We want our students to become lifelong learners, people who look for ideas in many different places. We want them to think both deeply and broadly, and to become great leaders for the future.”

Despite the relative stasis of the larger economy, Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government Professor Nicholas Burns ’78 described this particular moment in American history “consequential” and “chaotic” from a global economy standpoint.

Burns explains that “high on his list of global challenges for the United States is the rising dominance of nations to the East, especially China and India,” particular when the U.S. has not employed “skillful diplomacy and strategic thinking” to accommodate this “coming shift in global power.”

Nicholas Burns (’78), speaking recently at BC Carroll / Photo via

He said, “There’s no question that by the next century, we’ll be a Pacific world,”

You can read more about the conference here.


About the Author

Jonathan Pfeffer

Jonathan Pfeffer joined the Clear Admit and MetroMBA teams in 2015 after spending several years as an arts/culture writer, editor, and radio producer. In addition to his role as contributing writer at MetroMBA and contributing editor at Clear Admit, he is co-founder and lead producer of the Clear Admit MBA Admissions Podcast. He holds a BA in Film/Video, Ethnomusicology, and Media Studies from Oberlin College.

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