Our Story

We launched 10 Academy with the vision of helping to developing Africa, at speed and scale.

Our mission is to find some of Africa’s best and brightest young people and to enable them to use their talent, work ethic and modern technology to launch solutions that can impact Africa at speed and scale.

Only 8% of young people in Africa attend university today. Africa has an estimated 10 million young people that could enter university annually but less than 1 million (less than 8%) enter university – this leaves 9 million people (92%) that lose their chance to have impact at scale in Africa. The access issue is compounded by the fact that most of the 92% were denied the opportunity to have impact as a result of living in the wrong places, being from the wrong social situation or other factors beyond control. We are convinced that there are extremely talented young people within the 92% which are currently excluded from the university system and so we look to empower this population.

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This matters because Africa currently has a set of challenges (or opportunities) which need to be solved and which could impact large numbers of people. These include challenges in the sectors of healthcare, education, infrastructure, finance, entertainment and more.

Research in diverse fields has demonstrated that it is a select group of people that go onto have outsized (10x) impact of their peers.

10 Academy is a simple collection of these ideas – we aim to find the most talented young people (intelligence + work ethic + creativity), give them training in modern skills (so they can do more, faster), create a culture of changemaking in them and connect them with opportunities so that they can launch their careers.


Berhanu Abegaz, Former Executive Director – African Academy of Sciences

Berhanu Abegaz is a chemist by profession with long years of experience in teaching, research, ST&I, policy and Executive leadership. He is working closely with the Au HRST in developing a strategic plan for the pan African University. He is also a member of the African Union High Level Panel on Emerging Technologies. He is the immediate past Executive Director of the African Academy of Sciences who has led the efforts within the Academy in increasing the Fellowship, women Fellows, think-tank and advisory services, and creation of the Agenda-setting and funding platform known as Alliance for Accelerating Excellence in Science in Africa (AESA ). Abegaz has served in many organizations such as the UNESCO, ICSU, IOCD and IFS.

Berhanu brings his experience in teaching, research and innovation from across Africa to 10 Academy.

Phil Clay, Professor and former Chancellor, MIT

Phillip Clay is a professor of housing policy and city planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and served as its Chancellor from 2001 to 2010. As Chancellor he was responsible for graduate and undergraduate education as well as institutional partnerships. He has served the US National Housing Trust, the Mastercard Foundation, UNC Chapel Hill, the Kresge Foundation and others.

Phil brings his MIT experience in education and recent work in education and research in Africa to 10 Academy.

Alex Farcet, Cofounder and Managing Director – Startupbootcamp

Alex is a Founder and Partner at Rainmaking and Co-Founder and Managing Director of Startupbootcamp, a global network of 20+ industry-focused programs that has helped 700+ startups raise more than $600MUSD in funding.

Alex brings his experience in startups, partnering and company founding to 10 Academy.

Elsie Kanza, Head of Africa and Member of the Supervisory Board – World Economic Forum

Elsie is Head of Africa and Member of the Executive Committee at the World Economic Forum. From 2006 to 2011, she served as Personal Assistant to H.E. J.M Kikwete, President of the Republic of Tanzania (responsible for Economic Affairs). World Economic Forum Young Global Leader, Elsie serves on a number of non-profit and advisory boards, including the UONGOZI Institute of African Leadership for Sustainable Development and The Nature Conservancy.

Elsie brings her experience in launching continent-wide and global initiatives to 10 Academy.

Tina Taylor, CEO STEM Heritage Camps and Former CIO GE 

Tina Taylor is the founder of Heritage Leadership Academy – an organization which provides STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education to young people, aiming among other things to tackle the problem of female underrepresentation in the sciences. Tina was formerly the Chief Information and Quality Officer at GE Lighting.

Tina Taylor brings her experience in educational initiatives and corporate outreach across Africa to 10 Academy


Arun Sharma, Cofounder 

Arun founded 10 Academy in 2017. He has experience in the development of talent in Africa working with (among others) the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS), the Next Einstein Forum (NEF), World Bank, Johnson & Johnson, GIZ, Robert Bosch Foundation and IDRC.

Yabebal Fantaye, Cofounder, Science

Yabebal  is an award-winning data scientist with extensive research and teaching expertise. He taught at 10 Academy pilot and was recently named WEF Young Scientist, NEF Fellow, Research Chair holder in Data Science and Cosmology

Manny Acquah, Technology Advisor

Manny holds an MSc in Information Management Systems from the University of Bradford in the UK and also organizes the A-Better-Africa-With-Tech (ABAWT) meetup in Berlin that gets together bi-monthly as a group of like-minded, determined and focussed individuals who would love to contribute to the welfare of Africa through technology and any other means. Manny taught at the 10academy pilot and has over 10years experience in the tech scene and as well as a broad range of skills from code development to cloud infrastructure.

Mary Maina, Publicity and Engagement 

Mary is an Experienced Committee Member with a demonstrated history of working in the non-profit organizations and advocating for SDGs.
She is currently a Program Manager at Cricket Builds Hope NGO and an icon of Rwanda cricket as the Cricket Captain of Women’s National Team who is skilled in Leadership, Communications, Events Management and HR.

Emmanuel Sekyi, Technology 

Emmanuel is a full stack developer.  He graduated from KNUST with a degree in Chemical Engineering and worked with Inflexion Capital as a Software Engineer. He studied Artificial Intelligence at the Grailabs in Cape Town, South Africa. He is a 10 Academy fellow ’17.

Past and Present Partners