NAIROBI: Mount Kenya University (MKU) founder Simon Gicharu has been initiated into the World Entrepreneur of the Year Hall of Fame.
The induction occurred in Monaco, France, on Wednesday where Dr Gicharu is among the 65 top business leaders from across the world expected to be feted in the ongoing week-long event.
The climax of the event will be the crowning of 2015 Ernst and Young World Entrepreneur of the Year Award on Saturday. The induction comes as an endorsement of Gicharu’s entrepreneurial acumen as well as the success of the institution he founded less than 10 years ago.
“Earning the global recognition has not been easy. It affirms MKU’s reputation as among the best institutions in the world,” said Gicharu on the sidelines of the event.
The university won the preliminary round of the Eastern African chapter of the competition in late April based on its strong community impact through training of highly qualified graduates, mentorship programmes, research and corporate social responsibility programmes.
MKU 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.
The university is among the largest private universities in East and Central Africa, with more than 4,000 employees spread across six countries in the region where it has campuses.
Besides Gicharu, the other contestants from Africa include the Group Chief Executive of Oando PLC from Nigeria, Jubril Adewale and Asher Bohbot of EOH South Africa.
The competition is pegged on a six-point judging criteria which include Entrepreneurial Spirit, Financial Performance, Community Impact, Philanthropy, Innovation and Strategic Direction.
Gicharu has won accolades for steering the university to becoming one of the biggest institutions in the region, with campuses in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda and Somalia; from a small commercial college operating from the backstreets of Thika town with a loan of Sh20,000.
MKU Chancellor Victoria Wulsin congratulated the founder on the induction, terming it as confirmation that higher education provision in Africa has come of age.
“With the induction, MKU no doubt becomes a pacesetter among other institutions of higher learning in Africa,” said Prof Wulsin.