Adewale Yusuf is a pioneer in the African tech ecosystem. As the co-founder and CEO of AltSchool Africa, a skill-to-market platform, Adewale is helping to revolutionise the way people learn and work in the digital age.
In this exclusive interview with Business Elites Africa, we will dive into his journey, his insights and his vision for AltSchool Africa and the future of education on the continent. Adewale is a visionary leader who has launched successful ventures such as Techpoint Africa and TalentQL. He is also a mentor, an advocate and a board member of various organisations that are driving social impact and innovation.
BEA: What is the inspiration behind founding AltSchool Africa and how the platform is revolutionising the learning landscape to equip individuals with in-demand skills for the Future of Work?
Adewale Yusuf: AltSchool Africa was born out of a strong passion for empowering Africans with the tools and skills they need to excel in the ever-evolving landscape of the Future of Work. We started out as TalentQL, which was focused on exporting African talents to work for global companies. We soon realised that there are so many people without opportunities.
As an individual, I’ve always believed that education should transcend traditional boundaries and be accessible to everyone, regardless of their background or location.
The inspiration behind founding AltSchool Africa was fueled by the realisation that Africa possesses an abundance of untapped talent and potential. However, many individuals face barriers to accessing quality education and relevant skill development. This realisation served as a catalyst for creating a skill-to-market platform that could bridge this gap and offer a transformative learning experience.
At AltSchool Africa, our vision is to revolutionise the learning landscape by offering courses that go beyond theoretical knowledge and instead focus on practical, in-demand skills. We’re committed to providing learners with the knowledge and career opportunities they need to move their careers from where they are to where they want to be.
BEA: AltSchool Africa has achieved an impressive 40% completion rate after its first year, a remarkable accomplishment in the education technology space. What strategies or approaches do you attribute to this high completion rate, and how do you maintain learner engagement throughout the training process?
Adewale Yusuf: We’ve introduced something special known as the AltFormula. Our core belief? Learning should be an engaging, enriching, and hands-on experience. We’re convinced education can also connect people and bring real value to learners. With the AltFormula, we’ve found creative ways to keep you engaged and make sure your time and effort are worth it.
Our learners come from over 76 different countries, and they’re discovering the best learning experience on our platform. Learning is often seen as just something you have to do, without much benefit. But we think it should be rewarding. That’s why we’ve set up a career service to help you figure out your path and connect you with internships and jobs. We’re all about making sure learning pays off in the long run.
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People are at the heart of any successful venture. This principle has strongly impacted my leadership philosophy at AltSchool Africa. We understand that empowering individuals through education is not only about skill acquisition but also about nurturing potential.
BEA: Your journey in the tech industry is marked by successful ventures such as Techpoint Africa and TalentQL. How have your prior experiences influenced your leadership style and the unique value proposition that AltSchool Africa brings to the market?
Adewale Yusuf: Through my involvement with Techpoint Africa, I gained a profound understanding of the dynamic and ever-evolving nature of the tech landscape, and how great companies are built. I saw the emergence of startups in Africa, so I know what makes a startup succeed and the ones who fail.
This insight has greatly influenced my leadership style, emphasising adaptability and forward-thinking. The tech industry thrives on innovation, and my experiences at Techpoint taught me to lead with an open mind, embracing change as an opportunity rather than a challenge.
People are at the heart of any successful venture. This principle has strongly impacted my leadership philosophy at AltSchool Africa. We understand that empowering individuals through education is not only about skill acquisition but also about nurturing potential. Our leadership approach is centered around creating an environment that fosters growth, both for the organisation and for each person we engage with.
The culmination of these experiences has given rise to AltSchool Africa’s distinctive value proposition. As a result, AltSchool Africa places a premium on practical learning experiences, personal connections, and tangible outcomes. Our value proposition revolves around equipping learners with skills that directly align with industry demands, thereby enhancing employability and fostering holistic development.
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BEA: Hosting influential figures like Jack Dorsey demonstrates the global recognition of your work. Can you elaborate on the importance of building international partnerships and collaborations in advancing the tech ecosystem and expanding opportunities for African talent on a global scale?
Adewale Yusuf: Indeed, having influential figures like Jack Dorsey visit us is a testament to the global recognition of our work. The significance of building international partnerships and collaborations cannot be overstated, especially when it comes to advancing the tech ecosystem and expanding opportunities for African talent on a global scale.
International partnerships bring a multitude of benefits to the tech ecosystem. Firstly, they foster knowledge transfer. Collaborating with global leaders allows us to gain insights into best practices, innovative approaches, and emerging trends that can be applied to our local context. This cross-pollination of ideas accelerates growth and promotes a culture of continuous learning.
Moreover, these partnerships create a platform for showcasing African talent and innovation on a global scale. For example, we see AltSchool Africa as a global company and this is because the tech industry is borderless. Collaboration with global players amplifies our impact and places Africans and local solutions to global problems on the radar of a broader audience. This not only elevates the credibility of our endeavours but also attracts international attention and investment.
Expanding opportunities for African talent on a global scale is a vital aspect of these collaborations. By connecting African talent with global networks, markets, and resources, we empower individuals to transcend geographical limitations. This exposure enhances their skills, broadens their horizons, and prepares them for the global workforce.
BEA: Beyond your entrepreneurial pursuits, you’re deeply involved in mentoring through Techstars and advocating for disability rights with Life Beyond Disability. How do these roles align with your vision for a more inclusive and empowered African workforce, and how does AltSchool Africa contribute to these goals through its innovative offerings and partnerships?
Adewale Yusuf: I strongly believe that everyone deserves an opportunity. My own journey has been shaped by the chance someone took on me. Now, I’m placing my bets on the potential of every African, and I’m not doing it alone. I envision a future where people’s lives improve significantly, and Africa reaps the benefits. Beyond my collaboration with Life Beyond Disability and Techstars, my aspiration is to partner with more organisations. Together, we can extend a helping hand and make a difference that transcends boundaries.
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