Private sector

Maria Karaivanova

Everyone goes to Harvard Business School eager to start their business careers. Not me, at least not yet. This summer I decided to volunteer in Africa before setting off to a full-time job.

Lapdesks in action

Lapdesks in action

I am writing from Johannesburg, South Africa where I’m working at a company called Lapdesk.

I first heard of Lapdesk on my first day of class at Harvard when I was handed a case study about the company. And I was confused. I was at Harvard Business School. I expected to learn about a Fortune 500 company or a famous CEO. Why were we focused on a South African company whose goal was to eradicate classroom desk shortages throughout Africa by manufacturing ergonomically designed Lapdesks made out of high quality recyclable plastic?

What is ergonomically? Good question – they’re shaped like kidney beans and have a comfortable handle.

After an inspiring discussion, combined with a 20 minute video conference with the founder, Shane Immelman, I realised why. There are 80 million children throughout Africa without a desk. That is a huge business opportunity. Lapdesk is addressing this social problem, with a dynamic private sector proposition. Read more

Abhay Nihalani

Greetings readers and to my fellow MBA bloggers!

It has been a little over a month since I touched down in Nairobi, but in terms of knowledge and experience accumulated, it feels like eons. I’ve had the privilege of working with Acumen Fund, a global social venture fund dedicated to providing critical goods and services to the Base of the Pyramid (BoP), people earning under $4 per day. My focus this summer is on healthcare systems in East Africa, specifically mapping out the ecosystem for healthcare products and services and assisting with due diligence on pipeline investments with the potential to improve the health and well-being of low-income patients. Read more