For the inaugural practicum in 2014, the planning team engaged Omidyar Network, an impact investment fund founded by Pam and Pierre Omidyar, founder of eBay, to work with one of its Sub-Saharan Africa based portfolio companies. Participants took a deep-dive into the African mobile financial services landscape through the lens of Zoona, a network of entrepreneurs that provides money transfers and other financial services to low-income consumers in Zambia and Malawi. 

Case Hosts

Lelemba Phiri 2.jpg



Lelemba Phiri is the regional managing director for Zoona Transactions Limited – Zambia and Malawi. She is an award winning financial educator, keynote speaker and development professional who is passionate about entrepreneurship development in Africa. Lelemba was awarded the 2014 Country Winner for Zambia’s ICT Sector at Africa's Most Influential Women in Business and Government. She holds a Master’s degree in Development Finance (with distinction), a BSc in Applied Accounting and is a Chartered Certified Accountant. 

Christine Martin.jpg



Christine started the company's Washington D.C. office and manages the global e-voucher platform. She is responsible for technical improvements and product testing; establishing and managing partnerships in new markets; and providing technical assistance to partners on e-voucher program design and management. Prior to Zoona, she was a senior project manager for Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA). She worked on product development and user-centered design focused on leveraging mobile money to increase outreach and impact of financial services in Zambia, Nicaragua, Afghanistan, and Haiti.  


Using a case-based approach, invited students from leading business schools collaboratively explored the expansion of mobile financial services across the continent. Students had the opportunity to work in hybrid teams composed of up to 7 students. The workshop culminated with presentations of potential solutions to industry experts, faculty and renowned Yale World Fellows with relevant academic and professional experience. 

Students studied the market for mobile financial services across Southern Africa, and analyzed and presented solutions from 4 perspectives:

1) Training and DevelopmentHow can the company train its entrepreneurs more effectively?  

2) New Markets and Growth: How can the firm generate annual growth in users and in transaction volume? 

3) Financial Analysis: How can the company ensure a financially sustainable business model going forward?   

4) Customer Retention: How should the firm adapt its business model to better attract and retain customers?


Over 60 students from 7 US and 2 African business schools participated in the inaugural Africa Business Practicum in 2014. The following schools were represented:


2014 sponsors

Planning Team

ABP Co-Founders

2014 Team Members

  • Marvin Brown, JD 2015 - Case-development Team
  • Cobus Cok, MAM 2015 - Global Network School Liaison
  • Marge Farquharson, MBA 2015 - Logistics Team
  • William Kalema, JD 2015 - Case-development Team
  • Tiffany Morris, MBA 2015 - Case-development Team
  • Akinyi Ochieng, BA Yale College 2015 - Marketing Team
  • Dayo Olopade, JD/MBA 2015 - Co-founder
  • Fona Osunloye, MBA 2016 - Marketing Team
  • Alisha Rahemtulla, MBA/MPH 2016 - Co-founder
  • Neil Samen, MBA 2015 - Co-founder
  • Barkot Tekle, MBA 2015 - Co-founder
  • Rotimi Tewe, MBA 2016 - Marketing Team


A New Kind of Africa Business Conference - Dayo Olopade

A New Kind of Africa Business Conference - Dayo Olopade

Yale SOM to Host Africa Business Practicum - GNAM

Yale SOM to Host Africa Business Practicum - GNAM

Africa Conferences Must Evolve - Adedana Ashebir

Africa Conferences Must Evolve - Adedana Ashebir

SOM Hosts First Africa Business Practicum - Phoebe Kimmelman

SOM Hosts First Africa Business Practicum - Phoebe Kimmelman

Speakers and Case Evaluators

Marco Pistoia, Manager and Principal Research Staff Member at the IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center 


Marco Pistoia, Ph.D. has worked for IBM Corporation since January 1996 and is currently a Manager and Principal Research Staff Member at the IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center in New York, where he manages the Mobile Enterprise Software research group. In January 2010, he was one of 38 IBM employees worldwide to be bestowed the title of IBM Master Inventor. He is the inventor of 21 patents and 70 patent applications. Dr. Pistoia received his Ph.D. in Mathematics from the Polytechnic Institute of New York University in May 2005, and his Master of Science and Bachelor of Science degrees in Mathematics summa cum laudefrom the University of Rome, Italy in July 1995.  His computer interests include mobile-code security, program analysis and secure language design.


Dario Debarbieri,  Marketing Executive: Software Group Middle East and Africa at IBM


Dario Debarbieri, is a highly experienced Marketing and Communications executive in Financial Services and Technology industries with over 20 years experience in Latin America, USA, Europe, Middle East and Africa. He studied Law and Economics at the Universidad de Buenos Aires. 

Throughout his career he held several leadership positions including IBM's Marketing growth Markets Strategy, SWG Marketing IBM South West Europe, CMO SW IBM Middle East & Africa, Africa expansion leader and currently IBM Software Group Marketing Director Application Integration Middleware. His expertise includes Social Analytics, Big Data, Mobile, Cloud and Internet of Things.


Gautam Ganguli, Investment Professional at Atlas Merchant Capital


Since 2013 Mr. Ganguli has been an investment professional with Atlas Mara and Atlas Merchant Capital.
Before joining Atlas, Mr. Ganguli was a private equity investor with Wind Point Partners in Chicago and PNC Mezzanine Capital in Pittsburgh.  Mr. Ganguli previously worked as a manager and investment professional in financial institutions in Africa and the Middle East, providing growth capital to companies.  Mr. Ganguli began his career in banking with PNC.

Mr. Ganguli has a Master of Business Administration from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and a Bachelor of Science and Business Administration from the Washington University in Saint Louis.


Jon Gosier, Founder and General Partner at Third Cohort Capital

Jon Gosier is an investor, serial entrepreneur, and data scientist working primarily in areas of big data. He is partner at two investment funds, The Appfrica Fund and Third Cohort Capital. He has been listed among the ‘Most Influential Blacks in Technology’ by Business Insider 2013 and again in 2014. He has also been listed among the ‘20 Angel Investors Worth Knowing’ and among the ‘Innovators of the Year 2013’ by Black Enterprise Magazine.

He is a Senior Fellow at TED where he’s given several TED talks. He is a graduate of Goldman Sachs’ 10,000 Small Businesses program as well as the THNK the School of Creative Leadership in Amsterdam. He is a two-time winner of the News Challenge run by the Knight Foundation.

As an entrepreneur, he is the founder of Appfrica which has helped multinational corporates do business and invest across Africa since 2008. He has held executive roles in a number of successful companies including: Market Atlas which has been compared to ‘the Bloomberg terminal’ of Africa, andUshahidi which makes crowdsourcing tools for global emergency response.


Biola Alabi, Managing Partner at Biola Alabi Media Consulting; Yale World Fellow


Biola is an African media expert and Managing Partner at Biola Alabi Media Consulting -  a company designed to provide organizations with access to highly qualified professionals in the broadcast, telecommunications and digital industries. Until recently, Biola served as Managing Director of Electronic Media Network (MNET), Africa’s first private and leading subscription television service. As Managing Director for MNET, Biola worked tirelessly to produce and air stories created by and about Africa and Africans. Based in Lagos, Nigeria, she spent four years increasing the company’s Africa portfolio, including overseeing the launch of AfricaMagic Hausa and Yoruba in 2010 and AfricaMagic Swahili in 2011: channels that have made considerable contributions to the promotion of indigenous languages and cultures in Africa. She oversaw four editions of the popular reality series Big Brother Africa, and created the Face of Africa Finale in Lagos in 2010 and the first ever Africa Magic Viewer’s Choice Awards in 2013. Biola was listed as one of the 20 Youngest Power Women in Africa by Forbes in 2013. She previously worked with leading brands Sesame Street, and Daewoo Motors. She is currently consulting on special projects for MNET. 


Vivianne Naigeborin, Strategic Advisor at Potencia Ventures; Yale World Fellow


Vivianne is a pioneer in social impact investing in Brazil and serves as Strategic Advisor for Potencia Ventures. Potencia is an international organization that invests in emerging global markets to support an enabling environment for businesses contributing to poverty reduction. Potencia was the first investor and principal strategic partner for a half-dozen key initiatives for businesses with social impact in Brazil, including Vox Capital, the first Brazilian impact investing venture capital firm; and Artemisia, a pioneer organization in the dissemination, promotion and acceleration of impactful businesses in Brazil. Prior to Potencia, Vivianne worked as a strategic consultant for companies, funds, individuals and citizen sector organizations in the field of business with social impact. From 2000 to 2007 Vivianne was the International Director for Strategic Partnerships and Latin-America Integration at Ashoka Innovators for the Public. She is also part of the group that launched the first Brazilian MBA in Socio-Environmental Business in 2012, a partnership among Artemisia, University of Sao Paulo and IPE and a board member of several Brazilian civil society organizations. 


David Bach, Senior Associate Dean for Executive MBA and Global Programs and Senior Lecturer at Yale School of Management 


David Bach is Senior Lecturer in Global Business and Politics at Yale School of Management. His research and teaching focuses on business-government relations, nonmarket strategy, and market regulation in a globalizing world economy, with particular emphasis on the regulation of financial markets.

Bach has published widely in leading academic journals and in practitioner publications including the Sloan Management Review, the Financial Times, HBR blog, BizEd, Forbes India, Business Strategy Review, and the Conference Board Review. His work on the nexus of business and politics has twice earned him a spot as "one to watch" for the Thinkers 50 ranking of leading global business thinkers. In 2011, he was named one of the top 40 business school professors under 40 and was selected as one of the top 50 business school professors to follow on Twitter. He has won numerous awards for his teaching and for his case studies on companies including BP, Endesa, Starbucks, and Playboy.


Kyle Jensen, Shanna and Eric Bass ’05 Director of Entrepreneurial Programs and Lecturer in Entrepreneurship at Yale School of Management


Kyle Jensen is an entrepreneur, developer and scientist. Before joining the Yale SOM faculty, he co-founded Agrivida, a venture-backed biotechnology company; PriorSmart, a patent analytics provider (acquired by RPX, Nasdaq:RPXC); and Pit Rho, a leader in motorsport analytics. He works with numerous Yale start-ups, now as Director of Entrepreneurial Programs at SOM and previously as mentor and  entrepreneur-in-residence at the Yale Entrepreneurial Institute.  His academic research spans computational biology, intellectual property, and the sociology of science.


K. Sudhir, James L. Frank ’32 Professor of Private Enterprise and Management, Professor of Marketing & Director of the China India Insights Program at Yale School of Management


Professor K. Sudhir is James L. Frank Professor of Marketing, Private Enterprise and Management and director of the Yale China India Insights (CIIP) Program. His research focuses on gaining market insights by analyzing consumer and firm actions through econometric modeling. As director of the China India Insights Program, he also specializes in research on consumers in emerging markets. He has consulted for Fortune 500 U.S. firms and Indian firms across many industries such as technology, financial services, entertainment, and retailing, specializing in analyzing their internal data to obtain actionable market insights. He leads the data-driven academic-industry research partnerships at the Yale Center for Customer Insights (YCCI).

Professor Sudhir’s research has been honored with numerous best paper awards across all major quantitative marketing journals. Two of his papers were nominated among the top ten papers published in the last ten years in Marketing Science and Management Science for their Long-Term Impact over three consecutive years from 2009-2011. He has received the Little and Bass Best Paper Awards at Marketing Science and the Lehmann Award at the Journal of Marketing Research; and honorable mentions for the Wittink Award in Quantitative Marketing and Economicsand Best Paper Award in International Journal of Research in Marketing. He has also been a finalist for the Paul Green Award at the Journal of Marketing Research.