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The Van Duyse Entrepreneurial Leadership Institute’s Business Program is based on an innovative educational model developed in the United States called “Leadership Education”. This program is specifically adapted to cultivate great leaders through development of critical thought with a program that is dedicated to leadership skills rather than by simply completing an education through the traditional educational process. The van Duyse Entrepreneurial Leadership Institute’s was spearheaded by Gregory van Duyse.


Our objective is three-fold, and encompasses our mission, goal and vision for the future.


The mission of the institute is ambitious. It starts with a clear outcome: “Ending suffering in Africa that is caused by poverty.” The solution will come from a grass-roots movement of African leaders that collaborate together on Africa’s economic problems. We believe this is only possible by developing a new generation of leaders and entrepreneurs that are well trained and work together. Therefore, our mission is to build a new generation of powerful leaders and entrepreneurs that will end suffering and poverty in Africa.

As stated above, Africa needs to transform the entrepreneurial skills, mind-set, work-ethic and culture of a generation. This will not be easy. Furthermore, student as they become leaders must make a significant impact on their communities, and collectively on their countries. If we do this successfully, and are able to extend the concept through most African countries we believe we can help to transform Africa.


The goal of Leadership University is Financial Autonomy. Our ultimate objective is for our graduates to have built a business that is generating a net profit of 250.000 to 500.000 F CFA (500 USD to 700 USD) per month, while allowing them to work a maximum of four to five hours per week, within three years of graduation. This is how we define financial autonomy.

We want to create an academic leadership model that is capable of being replicated in other countries and which will provide the kind of education that will enable our graduates to be freed up to work on the larger problems in their own countries, while still being able to support themselves and their families.


Within ten years, we would like to see Leadership Centers in 15 countries throughout Sub-Saharan Africa which are graduating up to 500 entrepreneurs every year. We see ninety percent of those graduates becoming financially independent and having the opportunity to make a difference in their community within three years. The Centers we envision should be self-sustaining…not by donations, but through businesses and tuition. After the third year each campus should be financially self-reliant. Entrepreneurs are the source for new businesses as well as the vast majority of new jobs.

Learn how you can also make a difference




When you start a business there are always multiple risks that could lead to a failure.   This step is really a soft launch – starting informally with very little money so that you can learn as much as you can before real money is committed.  A Smart entrepreneur prefers to trade time and effort before the launch to test and learn everything he can now so that you will not waste time and money latter on. This step has 3 objectives: 1) Validating as many assumptions as possible, 2) Give the student with final Go or No-go decision and 3) Increasing the probability of success and all of this while using as little money as possible.  The primary tool is to test what you think will be true in a real world setting with real customers and suppliers.   It will either validate or disprove each element in the plan that should lead the business to success.  Elements that could be tested are the business model, price points, a location, marketing material, sales approaches, new features on a product, a guarantee offer, important costs and expenses, distribution channels your business or anything that could cause the business to not generate revenues and profits.  Student can also build key relationships that will be useful when they launch and prepare any documentation needed to secure funding.

In-depth Analysis

The following step is to take more time to analyse and even test each of the 3 or 4 promising opportunities identified in the first step. This deeper analysis will help the student understand the barriers of entry, the cost structure and the suppliers, the customers and the sales prospects and the pressure on price, the competition and their approach to the market, the potential substitutes, the marketing and distribution channels and the financial analysis including profit margins, the break-even point and the capital need to start the business.  As this analysis progresses week by week the student will learn if the opportunity should be pursued, modified and adapted or simply aborted.  During each In-depth analysis the student will present his findings to a review board that will provide open feedback and questions the student should consider if he desires to launch a business based on the opportunity.  The objective of this step is for the student to identify a very promising opportunity to launch during phase 3 of our program.

Opportunity Creation

The entrepreneur identifies many potential business opportunities. Capturing the basic concept of his idea on a one page opportunity canvas and completing a quick analysis (market demand, feasibility and financial viability) of the opportunity. This step is more about discovery and creation – looking for ways to modify a product or service so that it is more aligned with the needs and problems of the customer.   We expect each student will create 40 to 50 opportunity canvases during their first year of study. With the information on the opportunity canvas and the quick analysis the student select the 4 most promising business opportunities he has discovered.


After receiving valuable insight from Salvael Ortega (BYU Marriott School of Business – Innovation Design Lab) and Rich Christiansen (Serial Entrepreneur and author of the book ZigZag Principle) M. van Duyse designed a step by step process that could be followed to start a successful business.  The objective of this process is to help entrepreneurs to be successful in launching a new business.  I am not talking about the Venture Capital type of launching a business, where an entrepreneur tries to start “something that has never been done” to attract large venture capital funds in order to start big.  Our entrepreneurial philosophy could be better described as a mixture of the lean methodology (build – measure – learn) and bootstrapping. We much prefer to see entrepreneurs who start a business with a first objective to becoming profitable and generating income by bootstrapping his way forward and systematically testing each idea and learn how to succeed.  Then with time, a profitable business becomes a new beginning position to move into a larger opportunity.  Our business start-up process is composed of 7 steps:

How will the program be structured?

The first semester of the first year each student will spend the bulk of their time learning English or French and will read about six leadership books.

The second semester of the first year the student will read about 30 books on business and leadership.

The second year, about 42 books will be read, 70% on business and the other 30% on leadership. The student will be expected to create a business plan and present it in an online PowerPoint presentation and phone conversation with prospective investors in North America. The purpose of this plan is to generate funding for business plans through large and small donations that are paid to the school, which will manage and distribute the money to students as they meet specific benchmarks for the implementation of their business and as they progress with their business plan.

The third and final year, the student must implement the business plan full time. The only school work required will be that the student must read one business leadership book and discuss it.

There will be weekly and monthly mentoring sessions through which the student can meet their business milestones and report about how the business is doing. The money that was previously collected will be paid out in phases to the student for implementing the business plan as milestones are met.

What is required to graduate from the university?

To graduate, the students business plan must have been implemented and currently generating 100,000 F CFA per month ($200 US dollars).

Are Books included in the tuition?

Yes, all books will be read on Kindles, and all in English. The books will be loaded onto the Kindle as each session begins.

Will all students be required to learn a foreign language?

Yes. Each student will be required to learn English if their native language is French, or French if their native language is English.

What is the ultimate goal of the Leadership University?

Our ultimate goal is to have our students operating a business which is generating 2-300,000 F CFA per month two to three years post-graduation. They would at that point only be working 4-5 hours per week. This would free them up so that they in turn, can go out and do something greater than simply working.

Gregory van Duyse

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Gregory is the founder of the Institute. He studied construction management at Brigham Young University. Gregory is an entrepreneur and has co-founded Infoprimes.com and Axima Group. Gregory has set up the centre and is involved in the academic curriculum, mentoring students as well as governance.

Lionel Missigbeto

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Lionel is 33 years old and is an engineer with a degree from . His previous occupation was that of. He is the centre director and particularly focuses on the academic operations and development of the centre.

Florent Koussemou


Florent is x years old and has a degree from. He is responsible for the financial and administrative management of the centre.

Ifonti Kazotti


Ifonti is 45 a successful entrepreneur and in addition holds a degree from. Ifonti’s key role is to mentor the students through the curriculum and provide the benefits of his practical experience to the Students.

Thierry Yansounou


Thierry is 33 years old and is mentor to the students. Thierry has a masters in management and held a variety of academic and senior executive positions prior to becoming an entrepreneur. Since then Thierry has founded two successful businesses in the travel/Tourism area.



Arnauld is 39 years old and is the mentor for English language. Arnauld has a masters in English, and is fluent in several other European and African languages. Arnauld has also done training courses abroad in Germany. Arnauld has had a variety of executive positions in media and transport companies, and also was a professor of English for several years.

Clarence Nata


Clarence is 24 years old and a graduate of a specialist college for executive assistants. She runs the secretarial side of the college.