The African continent has an estimated 1000+ higher education institutions, most of which face challenges and require the intervention of various authorities. Be it the stakeholders, national governments, or even development partners, institutions must maximize the learning outcomes for the students while also contributing effectively to the overall workforce.
With several challenges upfront, most of the institutions went downhill in terms of the quality of education, teaching, research, and outcome, affecting the further socio-economic development of the host country.
Featuring The Enterprise World’s issue of The Top 5 Successful Entrepreneurs to Watch in 2023 is Adam Kelly, a visionary leader who has set out to revolutionise the higher education system in African countries.
Adam Kelly- The Journey of a Visionary Leader
Adam Kelly is a registered Chartered Management Accountant by trade. With the skills he has learnt both in the classroom and in his career to date, his daily purpose is to ensure greater access to quality, affordable higher education that will be the catalyst to reducing unemployment while improving the lives of future graduates, their families, and their communities.
The Accolades of a Stellar Journey within the education sector –
Adam’s key achievements include:
- The implementation of a systematic processes that have enhanced the productivity and management of the sales team, reduced lead leakage and improved lead conversion.
- The consolidation of a cluttered campus footprint into a focused premium offering across South Africa.
- The development of a new brand and brand promise as well as continued enhancement of the brand through targeted campaigns across a variety of marketing channels.
- The building of a successful; sales and marketing leadership team that has developed and delivered on their own regional and divisional strategies that align with the overall business objectives.
Building an Efficient Team-
As a sales-led organization, the sales and marketing team is integral to business growth. A key priority for Adam Kelly is having the right people in the right role. To achieve this, he made use of formal talent development tools and techniques to support the development of key team members, which he then attracted to fulfil the key competencies in areas that were still lacking.
“This is a process that has been replicated by my leadership team to ensure all employees have the key competencies and skills to be successful.”
Giving the Necessary Impetus to Higher Education-
Operating as the Chief Commercial Officer of Growth Ten, the holding company of Richfield and the AAA School of Advertising, Adam Kelly plays the key role of bringing about a revolutionary change in the higher education system in African countries.
What inspired him to take this step? The inspiration came from the challenge. The challenge was to accelerate growth in a well-established higher education business, operating in an extremely competitive market.
“I see education as the catalyst to driving the change we want to see in our country and the world at large.”
To be able to have a direct role in increasing access to education for the youth was added inspiration.
Hurdles Along the Way-
One of the biggest challenges was repositioning the Richfield brand and attracting students from new target markets to achieve sustainable growth.
“To do this, we created a new brand, a new brand promise, and an enhanced value proposition of high-quality education that was both affordable and accessible.”
There was also the absence of sales systems, processes, and people required to achieve the desired growth objectives.
The company’s Growth Ten’s long-standing success can be attributed to the key focus on technology, both in the curriculum as well as in the way Richfield delivers its curriculum. It is important to move with digital trends to ensure that the students are relevant when looking to join the job market or start their businesses.
Richfield’s Service Offerings-
“We focus on quality higher education and the delivery of accredited higher education programs both on campus and online (through our distance learning offering).”
Richfield’s qualification offerings include degrees, diplomas, higher certificates as well as postgraduate qualifications in the form of their honour’s degrees and the flagship program, the Richfield Master of Business Administration.
The institution’s offering is differentiated through the ability to maintain high standards of learning in a premium learning environment, that is still affordable to the customers (students). In addition to graduating with the chosen qualification, students also receive the necessary technical skills through badges and certifications, soft skills as well as entrepreneurship skills to maximize their chances of employment or the opportunity to create employment by starting their own businesses.
The Road Ahead-
In 2019, Growth Ten developed a new brand promise and the success of being able to deliver on this significantly enhanced promise was achieved through the acceleration of a business improvement strategy.
These improvements came in the form of significant upgrades to both the campus and online learning infrastructure, higher quality academic delivery, greater support to students both on campus and online as well as the additional learning outcomes provided on top of their qualification, to give all graduates more than just a degree.
Despite the significant impact in a relatively short period of time, Adam Kelly is by no means done. The future looks exciting as the next phase is expansion across the continent to raise and maintain the benchmark of quality, affordable higher education.