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Nigeria’s first private online University launched

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A young Nigerian entrepreneur, Ukanwoke, is the founder of Beni American University (BAU), Nigeria's first private online university, launched in the late 2012. The school allows students to access their classes at any time of the day with any internet-enabled device.

Ukanwoke's idea to start BAU came from his previous online venture called ‘Students Circle’, an educational social networking site he'd launched while in university. The site allows learners to interact and access free resources from leading schools.

That invention earned him the name ‘Nigeria’s Mark Zuckerberg by Forbes Magazine. He told CNN that "When I created Students Circle in 2010, I found out that many were looking for certificates, hoping that they could get something they could use to maybe find employment or get a promotion in the workplace. Then there was the need for a new institution to be created in Nigeria," he said.

Now, some 18 months into his new business endeavor, Ukanwoke has hired 10 instructors and has about 200 students, with an average age of 26.

But the startup's journey so far has not been without challenges. Nigerian laws require universities to have a physical campus. So, last year, Ukanwoke bought a piece of land in Benue State with the goal to build a private campus that could accommodate some 10,000 students.

National Daily learnt that the project is expected to launch next year. But in the meantime, the web courses are up and running -- a 12 week online program can cost between $100 and $300. Among the courses offered are corporate diplomacy, global marketing, leadership and management, digital journalism, project management and entrepreneurship and innovation, which is the university's most popular class.

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