The global market size of the big data business as of today, is well above $200 billion, with Africa fast claiming bigger and bigger piece of that pie, somewhere in the neighbourhood of $10 billion. With such a growing market, democratising data science to bridge the talent gap in Africa becomes imperative.
It is therefore not surprising that organisations seeking to enhance their use of data and invest in internal data science capacity face a dearth of capable African data scientists, a situation that impels business entities to frequently hire data science consultants from outside the continent, especially India, but including other Asian countries, due to the scarcity of competent local resources.
A lack of the necessary educational opportunities is the major alibi for the shortage of proficient data scientists on the continent. Consequently, aspiring data scientists are required to access costly online resources or are compelled to pursue informal education pathways to develop their theoretical knowledge and practical experience.
Due to that lack of a workforce skilled in turning data into actionable insights, African businesses spend millions of dollars each year outsourcing data projects abroad. This further constitutes a burden on prospects as employment opportunities are more readily available to those with formal qualifications, rather than self-taught individuals.
To tackle this head-on, Blossom Academy was created with a value proposition of targeting students and employers.
Jeph Acheampong, a Ghanaian entrepreneur, two years ago, founded Blossom Academy to recruit and develop African Analytics Talents, with the goal of connecting them with job opportunities.
In his words, “Each month, we offer short training, such as data analytics and python programming, for beginners. For our advanced applicants, we offer training in data engineering and machine learning. During the training programmes, students build analytical tools to address the challenges of businesses in their region and receive coaching in critical soft skills.”
Before founding Blossom Academy, where Jeph drives the company’s business strategy, he worked on Wall Street, where he advised and consulted for some multinationals on data strategy. He then proceeded to become a founding member and head of marketing of Esusu, a fintech platform that helps people save and build credit.
This, coupled with the experience he derived from working in Kenya’s tech ecosystem, made Acheampong realise how data can truly help businesses achieve a competitive advantage and scale.
On Blossom, the majority of the programmes are delivered virtually, which enables the startup to leverage its learning management system for quick, accurate follow-up assessments. The data science academy then builds data-driven profiles for each student to personalise their learning experiences based on their learning styles, working preferences, and engagement with course content.
Acheampong boasts that what sets Blossom Academy apart from other data science accelerators is how it consults with prospective employers on their data-related challenges and creates data-driven curricula for its students.
“Blossom Academy differentiates itself by first identifying the data challenges of employer partners prior to designing its curriculum. The academy also uses a method of learning that combines traditional classroom experiences with real-time virtual sessions.”