Audrey Cheng is a Taiwanese American entrepreneur, raised in Maryland by first generation Taiwanese immigrants. Cheng is co-founder and CEO of Moringa School, a learning accelerator headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya that teaches skills like coding to African youth to increase their employability potential and launch their career.
Cheng was only 21 when she landed in Kenya in 2014 and launched Moringa School, an innovative academy for aspiring developers. Three years later, her school boasts 600 alumni with a 95 percent employment rate and an average 360 percent salary increase after graduation.
Cheng first came up with the idea for Moringa School while working in Nairobi for Savannah Fund, an early-stage tech investment firm in sub-Saharan Africa. Watching Kenyan start-ups, she quickly discerned that their biggest bottleneck to growth was skills, as they would often have to outsource their coding needs to India.
The first Moringa School opened in Kenya in 2015 and has expanded to Hong Kong, Pakistan, and Ghana. Cheng was recognized in 2016 by the World Economic Forum for her work as one of the Top Female Innovators in Africa. In 2018, she was named a Cartier Women’s Finalist for Africa.
Fun Fact: Cheng does not know how to code. After growing up in Maryland, she studied journalism and global health at North-western University while juggling four jobs (including her all time-favourite: a lighthouse tour guide).
Meanwhile, the World Bank has chosen Moringa School to be the Middle East and Africa location for its study on the effectiveness of coding boot camps in emerging markets. The school is also launching new courses to keep up with employer demand.