Featured in April on CNN African Start-up Gossy Ukanwoke is on the rise with his founding of Nigeria’s first private online university, Beni American University (BAU) in 2012. The University is the product of a previous online venture he started called ‘Students Circle’, an educational social networking site that allows learners to interact and access free resources from leading schools.
“When I created Students Circle in 2010 I found out that many were looking for certificates, hoping that they could get something they could use to maybe find employment or get a promotion in the workplace,” explains Gossy.
Gossy’s Beni American University is providing executive programs for graduates who are looking for employment and want to build up their resumes, or managers who want to climb up the hierarchy of their companies. The University allows students to access classes at any time of the day with any internet-enabled device.
Gossy Ukanwoke is 25 years old and has been described by Forbes as “Nigeria’s Mark Zuckerberg”. In just 18 months of opening shop with BAU, Gossy, has hired 10instructors and has about 200 students, with an average age of 26.
Nigerian laws require Universities to have a physical campus, last year he bought land in Benue State, Nigeria with the goal of building a private campus with the to accommodate some 10,000 students. Theproject is expected to launch next year, but in the meantime the web courses are up and running – a 12 week online program can cost between $100 and $300. Among the courses offered are corporate diplomacy, global marketing, leadership and management, digital journalism, project management and entrepreneurship and innovation, which is the University’s most popular class.
“We still have a long way to go, we have a lot of work to do, a lot of policy wrangling too,” Gossy admits, “But it’s a work in progress and we are quite happy with where we are.”