5 essential business tips from young African entrepreneurs


11. Your first step is the most important

Alain Nteff, a Cameroonian entrepreneur who won the 2014 Anzisha Prize, believes that developing a business idea is easy, but bringing it to fruition is another story. Nteff Alain is the entrepreneur behind GiftedMom, one of Africa’s leading mHealth solution providers. With over $200,000 in funding since its inception, this remote health support platform continues to reduce maternal mortality rates in Africa.

Nteff believes the challenges faced by entrepreneurs can quickly affect their motivation and vision. In the meantime, he advised young entrepreneurs to take the first step, which is the most important to set the tone. Next, Nteff emphasized the importance of focusing on your goal, taking action, and everything will fall into place.

2. Build your entrepreneurial brand

Tom Osborn is a Kenyan entrepreneur who made the Forbes 30 under 30 list in social entrepreneurship at the age of 19. He believes in the development of entrepreneurial brands. Tom Osborn is the founder of GreenChar, a clean energy company producing charcoal briquettes for cooking purposes.

Speaking at the inaugural Africa Awards, Tom advised young entrepreneurs to grow their brands and businesses to succeed. He thinks Africa is home to young entrepreneurs with big ideas, but many never get beyond the small scale or even get noticed.

Osborn explained that poor positioning of their brand and organization and failure to tell their stories are important causes. So he advised young entrepreneurs to learn how to build their brand, spend time on their products, and invest heavily in marketing. Additionally, Tom wants African entrepreneurs to adopt marketing strategies that sell their products in the global marketplace.

3. Separate business from pleasure

For Thato Kgatlhanye, a South African who won the ELLE International Impact Award, young Africans should always separate business from pleasure. Thato is one of the brains behind Repurpose Schoolbags, a social initiative that recycles plastic bags using solar technology.

When creating a business partnership with friends, act like you met that person that day are Kgatlhanye’s words to young entrepreneurs. She also said that long-term friendships and relationships should not interfere with business operations and procedures. Just because you’ve known a friend for years doesn’t guarantee the success of your business together.

Learn more about your partner in a professional way instead of leveraging the friendship. Friendship and business are two different games, and mixing them affects your decision making. She also advised entrepreneurs to get business coaching as it can advance or hinder progress.

4. A great team is everything

Sam Kodo, a Togolese robotics genius who built his first robot at age seven, has always stressed the importance of great teams in business. Sam is the founder of Infinite Loop, an organization locally producing low-cost personal computers for students. However, he understands that running a successful business isn’t just about computer literacy.

Kodo believes that a great team is essential to running a successful business. Sam referred to Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates and recognized them as outstanding directors but not good businessmen. During this time, they surrounded themselves with people of diverse skills and abilities, who turned their IT skills and innovations into a successful business.

Sam advised African entrepreneurs to choose competence when selecting a business partner or team to lead the organization. There is no limit to the accomplishments of a business with a great team, especially when building and introducing the business to the world.

5. Your motivation must come from within

Winifred Selby says a Ghanaian who won the 2016 New African Woman in Science, Technology and Innovation award is highly motivated. Winifred Selby is co-founder of the Ghana Bamboo Bikes Initiative and chair of the Kumasi-based EPF Educational Empowerment Initiative.

Winifred believes entrepreneurial success is no easy task, especially when friends and family discourage many young people from following their vision. While entrepreneurs need to be realistic about business risks, they also need to be brave. She shared an inspiring story of how her friends discouraged her after hearing the idea of ​​the bamboo bike, but she stayed focused and achieved incredible feats.

Shelby advised African entrepreneurs to find motivation from within and not seek validation from others. Selby wants entrepreneurs to draw courage and inspiration from their passions and dreams without relying on the support of others. Remember that people don’t understand your background because it’s not for them to understand.


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