7 Essential Business Courses for African Startup Founders

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It is common knowledge that having an innovative idea or a better approach to an already existing concept is not enough to launch and sustain a startup. While your business idea goes a long way in pitching and, if successful, shunning out the competition, there is still so much that goes into running a startup.

According to a 2020 study by Greentec Capital Africa Foundation and Wee Tracker, 54.2% of African startups fail. The most common reasons for failure include inadequate funds, no market need, and a flawed business model.

In countries like Ethiopia and Rwanda, which had the highest failure rates, failure was primarily ascribed to their bad economies.

Thus, in order to launch, build, and sustain a successful business in Africa, you must be equipped with adequate knowledge that would guide you throughout your journey as a founder.

To help you create and sustain your dream startup, we have outlined only the most essential and critical courses every African startup founder needs to succeed.

Biggest Mistakes First Time Founders Make

This course is basically startup founder 101. Biggest Mistakes First Time Founders Make is created for beginners to help them avoid mistakes that may be detrimental to their businesses in the long run.

It covers everything from handling customer relations to building the right brand image, choosing a capable co-founder, and so much more. The course is taught by global expert tutors who share their mistakes, lessons learned and how to completely avoid them.

The course is offered by Startup Academy by The Bulb Africa, a FREE academy that trains, equips and empowers early-stage African startup founders with all the tools and resources they need to succeed.

The Academy offers 14 courses over 90 days that teaches founders how to build and sustain their businesses from the ground up. Registrations for a new cohort are open for a limited time as the application ends on November 7th 2021.

Business Model Innovation

A common reason startups shut down is because they fail to beat the competition. While this is due to varying reasons, failing to build a strategic business model makes it easy to get tossed aside by the competition.

Business Model Innovation is a proven and efficient course that has and continues to equip startup founders with a practical framework and toolbox to create or reinvent business models.

It is a 14-hour course that; teaches why business models aid innovation and strategy, stimulates creativity, and analyzes existing business models using Odyssey 3.14 approach.

At the end of the course, you would have a clear understanding of your target audience, how to deliver your services promptly, and how to generate profit. The course is offered by Coursera and starts on November 8th.

Access to the entire course materials, including the certificate, costs $79. Financial aid and an audit version are also available.

Startup Pitching Crash Course — Learn to Pitch Properly

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While you may have the most innovative idea for your startup, you may never see it come to life without sufficient funding.

As mentioned earlier, lack of cash is the number one reason why startups across the world fail. Thus, it is paramount to know how to pitch your idea to investors in a way that makes them believe your startup is worth pumping money into, and that is precisely what this course offers.

In this course, you’ll learn to: effectively present your idea with confidence and a clear plan, persuade venture capitalists and understand how industry leaders like Facebook and LinkedIn raised hundreds of millions of dollars in venture capital.

You will understand the critical questions that need to be answered in your pitch and become aware of the essential preparations required before delivering the pitch. The course is offered by Udemy and costs $89.99.

The Complete Product Management Course

If you’ve been curious as to how industry leaders like Apple are able to design unique and innovative products that customers cannot seem to get enough of, then this course is definitely for you. The course covers everything on product management, from the ideation phase to research, wireframing, prototyping and user stories.

You will learn how to build your product portfolio, discover your competitors’ weaknesses, spot trends that will grow your product, learn how Apple makes laser-focused products, and become familiarized with tools like Axure and Pivotal Tracker.

The course covers everything you need to know about product management and helps you stand out from the competition. Udemy offers this course for $89.99.

E-Commerce Essentials: How to Start a Successful Online Business

A report by Fundera shows that 1.79 billion people shopped online in 2019, and global e-commerce sales are projected to be about $4.8 trillion by the end of 2021. Combining these incredible numbers with the COVID-19 pandemic, which has caused most people to shop online, your startup definitely needs a good online presence.

This one-hour course explores how to choose marketable products, evaluate market viability, conduct competitive analysis, identify the right platform to sell and create a content marketing plan that brings profit.

This short course is designed to teach you how to put your startup online and drive sales. The class is available on Skillshare via a subscription and offers reliable tips that can be applied throughout your e-commerce journey.

Startup Growth Strategies: Simple Approaches for Fast Growth

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Growing a startup is not easy. Growing a startup in underdeveloped countries in Africa is even more difficult. Thus, you need a concrete and effective strategy that would ensure growth, regardless of poor economies or harmful policies.

This course is the ultimate guide that will help you: choose profitable niches for your business, acquire large numbers of new customers, and grow fast by tailoring your startup to your target audience.

At the end of the class, you will be fully equipped with the right skills and capabilities to make your business successful. Udemy offers this course at $89.99.

Free SEO Training Course: Building Sustainable Traffic for Business Growth

As mentioned earlier, having an online presence plays a key role in the growth of your business and knowing SEO works goes a long way in driving traffic to your website. While many SEO analysts are available for hire, nothing beats knowing how to do it yourself, especially if you don’t have enough funds.

Through a series of 15 videos, you will learn how to measure your current SEO, build backlinks for your website, and create an SEO strategy tailored for your business. The class also teaches how search engines rank your content and offers a workbook that helps you determine your SEO authority, identify areas for improvement and implement optimization processes to help your website rank better.

This free course is offered by Hubspot Academy.


With an alarming failure rate of 54.2%, it is easy to get scared and discouraged. Some claim failure is the best teacher, but failure can be significantly avoided with these free and inexpensive courses.

By acquiring the right skills, resources, and preparations from these courses, you are well on your way to running your ideal startup.




The Bulb Africa is a platform for Africans leveraging technology. We provide training and incubation programs that help turn tech ideas into business realities.

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The Bulb Africa

The Bulb Africa

The Bulb Africa is a platform for Africans leveraging technology. We provide training and incubation programs that help turn tech ideas into business realities.

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