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Developing Economies and Social Entrepreneurship

Faculty-LedFaculty-Led | Business Kenya


This program explores all aspects of Kenya’s growing economy and provides a unique opportunity for business students to study in an emerging market where social and environmental ethos is embedded in business values. A faculty-led program can include multiple lectures and ‘behind the scenes’ looks at several of Nairobi’s successful startup companies and organizations. From a cooperative in Africa’s largest urban informal settlement to a leading technology hub in Nairobi’s central business district, each site visit will give students insight into the ethos that drives these companies and the modern world movement of social entrepreneurship.

Why Nairobi?

Nairobi is the capital city of Kenya and the economic hub of East Africa. It is a vibrant and intriguing city, characterized by the hustle and bustle of its busy streets and the industry and innovation of the people who inhabit it.

Nairobi is also a city of stark contrasts – between rich and poor, young and old, and open plains and skyscrapers. While its social, economic and historical achievements are numerous, perhaps Nairobi’s most famous characteristic is the fact that it is the only city in the world to boast an urban national park – just 20 minutes from the city center, wild animals roam freely in the Nairobi National Park.

Learning Outcomes

During this program, students will:

  • Analyze the impact of social entrepreneurship on the development of Kenya’s economy
  • Develop professional competencies through critical business skills workshops with local innovators, thought leaders and entrepreneurs
  • Contextualize Kenya’s economy within the history of colonialism, modernity and the developing market
  • Engage with ethical and sustainable business models



Dr. Njihia James Muranga

James Muranga Njihia is a Senior Lecturer and Dean at the School of Business, University of Nairobi. He holds a PhD in Information Systems from the University of Warwick, and an MBA and BSc Eng (Civil) from the University of Nairobi. His current research explores how developing countries can better exploit information technology for development focusing on policy, innovation, research in complex contexts and philosophy of science. He has published in journals on philosophy of science and information systems as well as contributed a scholarly book on technology and policy.

James is head of secretariat at the Operations Research Society of Eastern Africa and advisor to the UNITID Fellowship Program. He consults in the areas of strategy and information systems and has wide experience in project and program management and training in infrastructure and healthcare systems in Africa.

John McKelvey

John graduated from Kansas State University and completed an MBA from the University of London. He also holds a CPA certification from the United States.  He worked for an investment firm in the USA before moving to Kenya in 1990. He has since worked in 23 countries on the African continent. John is the managing director for Brackenhurst Kenya Limited and the financial director for an investment holding company with offices in Limuru, Arusha, Harare, Cape Town and Mauritius. John is the co-founder and on the board of directors for Woodland Star International School which is located on the Brackenhurst Campus near Limuru, Kenya. 

He has been deeply involved in biodiversity preservation and reforestation projects with Plants for Life International – also based on the Brackenhurst Campus.

Wanjira Maathai

Wanjira Mathai is the Director of the Partnerships for Women’s Entrepreneurship in Renewables (wPOWER), Wangari Maathai Institute (WMI). She previously directed International Affairs at Green Belt Movement (GBM), which was founded by her mother, the late Nobel Peace Laureate Wangari Maathai. There she managed international outreach and resource mobilisation. For six years prior to joining GBM, Mathai worked as Senior Program Officer at the Carter Presidential Center (USA), monitoring and evaluating disease eradication programs. She Chairs the Green Belt Movement and is a Board member of WMI, Wangari Mathai Foundation and Resonate.

She is also a World Future Councilor, Advisory Council Member (Global Cookstoves Alliance), Member of the Global Restoration Council and Member of the Earth Charter International Council. Mathai is Kenyan and a graduate of Hobart & William Smith College. She earned graduate degrees in Public Health and Business from Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health and Goizueta School of Business.

Customize Your Program

Our friendly and experienced team will work closely with you to develop your custom faculty-led program from conceptualization to execution. We believe every journey to Africa gives students the opportunity to learn and transform and we pride ourselves in our ability to create unique, sustainable and truly African transformative learning journeys.

Featured Experiences

Kiambethu Tea Farm

Touring the Kiambethu Tea Farm gives insight into the colonial history and economics of Kenya, as well as the process undergone to transform the leaves of a tea bush into one of the most well known beverages of all time. The tour includes a walk through indigenous forests rich with medicinal trees, as well as a delicious colonial luncheon on the lawn.

River Rafting Rapids Camp

River Tana is the perfect place for white river rafting, with rapids ranging from grades three to five. It is also the only place in for white river rafting in Kenya. Upstream and downstream currents, including waterfalls, provide different technicalities that challenge beginners as well as more experienced rafters. Rafting River Tana is a worthy adrenaline rush!

Big Cat Monitoring

Incredible wildlife is one of Africa’s most appealing icons, and is desperately in need of protection through conservation and educational projects. Many conservation efforts give rise to amazing volunteering programs, such as the opportunity to research and monitor big cats. Taking part in this project gives students a chance to deeply experience and engage with some of Africa’s most powerful and breathtaking wildlife.

Brackenhurst Botanic Gardens

Brackenhurst Botanic Gardens is a vibrant gateway into the world of pre-colonial climate diversity. Rising out of misty, rolling hills of emerald-green tea, these gardens stand as a testament to the power of environmental restoration and protection. The project began in the year 2000 and includes an arboretum of rare tree species that are critically endangered across the continent. 

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