Mount Kenya University founder and chairman Dr. Simon Gicharu has been inducted into the World Entrepreneur of the Year Hall of Fame.
In the ongoing week-long event in Monaco, France, whose highlight will be the crowning of the 2015 Ernst and Young World Entrepreneur of the Year on Saturday, Dr. Gicharu is among the 65 top business leaders from across the world to be feted.
This induction is an endorsement of Dr. Gicharu’s entrepreneurial acumen as well as the success of the institution he founded, Mount Kenya University.
“Earning the global recognition has not been easy,” said Dr. Gicharu on the sidelines of the event. “It affirms my commitment to make Mount Kenya University a world class institution of higher learning.”
The university, which won the preliminary round of the Eastern African chapter of the competition in late April has had a strong community impact through training of highly qualified graduates, mentorship programmes, research and corporate social responsibility programmes.
Mount Kenya University is the only educational-based institution from Africa in this year’s Ernst and Young World Entrepreneur of the Year awards. There are 65 contestants from 53 countries. Together, they have a combined revenue of $38 billion and employ over 334,000 people. Mount Kenya University, the largest private university in East and Central Africa employs 4,000 people across six countries in Eastern Africa.
Besides Dr. Gicharu, the other contestants from Africa are Mr. Jubril Adewale, the Group Chief Executive of Oando PLC, Nigeria and Mr. Asher Bohbot of EOH South Africa.
Just like the Eastern African preliminary rounds of the competition, there are six judging criteria in the world event. These are Entrepreneurial Spirit, Financial Performance, Community Impact, Philanthropy, Innovation and Strategic Direction.
The university’s journey from a small commercial college operating from the backstreets of Thika town to the largest private university in the region with Campuses and Centres in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda and Somaliland is a case study in perfection of the above criteria. Dr. Gicharu started the institution with a loan of Ksh20,000.
Mount Kenya University Chancellor Prof. Victoria Wulsin congratulated Dr. Gicharu on the induction, terming it as confirmation that higher education provision in Africa has come of age.
“Mount Kenya University is now the pacesetter among other institutions of higher learning in Africa. I wish to congratulate Dr. Gicharu and the entire university fraternity.”
The university, which was chartered in 2011, has the highest number of accredited science programmes among private universities in Kenya. Besides providing education, the university, through its network of Campuses and Centres has built an ecosystem that supports over 300,000 families.
This is the 15th edition of the Ernst and Young World Entrepreneur of the Year awards. It has attracted key speakers from around the world who include US television personality Martha Stewart and Cheri Blair, wife of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair.