Becoming a successful entrepreneur is never an easy exploit. The amount of sacrifice, hard work and the unwavering determination required to achieve greatness cannot be overemphasized. As Founder360° we have gathered pieces of advice from top distinguished African Entrepreneurs around Africa on various aspects of building a business.
Two aspects come out from these entrepreneurs; first is the fact that they have built their global acclaimed businesses right here in Africa, secondly is that entrepreneurship is a lifelong journey that requires steadfast tenacity to keep the fire burning.
Here are their profiles of African Entrepreneurs;
Mo Ibrahim – Act to solve problems than complaining and doing nothing
Mohammed Ibrahim is the founder of Satya Capital an investment firm with investment interest in Africa. He is worth about $1.14B according to Forbes 2017. Born in Sudan and now a U.K. citizen, Mohammed (Mo) Ibrahim founded Celtel International, one of the first mobile phone companies serving Africa and the Middle East. He sold it to Kuwait’s Mobile Telecommunications Company for $3.4 billion in 2005 and pocketed $1.4 billion. He is a self-made entrepreneur.
Aliko Dangote – To build a successful business, you must start small and dream big
Aliko Dangote is Africa’s richest man worth about $14.2B according to Forbes 2017. Born in 1957, He owns Dangote Cement, the continent’s largest cement producer that produces 44 million metric tons annually and about 90% of publicly-traded Dangote Cement through a holding company. Dangote also owns stakes in publicly-traded salt, sugar, and flour manufacturing companies.
Tony Elumelu – Embrace my own business values which include hard work, emotional and social intelligence, integrity, resilience, and discipline
Tony Elumelu led a small group of investors to take over a floundering Nigerian commercial bank and transformed it into UBA Group, a large Pan-African financial services behemoth spanning 20 African countries. He also owns a controlling interest in Transcorp, a publicly traded Nigerian conglomerate with interests in hospitality, agriculture, oil production and power generation. He is the chairman of Heirs Holdings, which has investments in energy, healthcare, services, banking, real estate as well as agribusiness.
Here are the top tips from African Entrepreneurs:
Strive Masiyiwa – The worst “financial” decision you can ever make in your life, is to steal something.
Strive Masiyiwa is the founder of Econet Wireless Group, a telecommunications group, that has a publicly-listed subsidiary in Zimbabwe and it is the largest mobile phone network in Zimbabwe with 9 million subscribers. Econet also has lucrative operations in Botswana, Lesotho, and Burundi, as well as investments in telecom companies in New Zealand and the United States.
Ashish J. Thakkar – Mentorship is essential in business. My business success was due to great mentors opening doors, rendering advice and encouraging me when the chips were down
Thakkar, 29 is a co-founder and CEO of Mara Group – a Ugandan conglomerate with tentacles in financial services, hotels, renewable energy, technology, and manufacturing. Annual revenues are approximate $1 billion and the group has an active presence in 25 countries in Africa. He is the Executive Chairman of Mara Sokoni, an African e-commerce platform with a focus on the B2C marketplace for general merchandise. Ashish serves as Chair of the United Nations Foundation, Global Entrepreneurship Council and is the author of The Lion Awakes: Adventures in Africa’s Economic Miracle.
Vusi Thembekwayo – You can start small but don’t think small
Vusi Thembekwayo is a South African Entrepreneur, Global Keynote speaker, and venture capitalist. He is the founder of Motiv8, leading human resources management & development consultancy firm which he sold to his US partners in a multi-million rand deal and used part of the proceeds to launch MyGrowthFund, a venture capital company that supports business people as they start, build and grow their businesses by providing expert advice and implementation support across various disciplines.
Juliana Rotich – Find a way to serve people through your work. The rest is hard work and persistence.
Juliana Rotich is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of Ushahidi Inc, a non-profit tech company and BRCK, hardware and services Technology Company based in Nairobi, Kenya. that enables communication in low infrastructure environments by developing useful, innovative, and exciting hardware-centered technologies.
She also serves as an advisor to the councils of BASF, Risk Cooperative, Africa Technology Ventures (ATV) and the Lemelson Foundation. She is a trustee of Bankinter Foundation for Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Spain, board member of Digital Impact Alliance and the Kenya Vision 2030 Delivery Board.
Jason Njoku – Never run out of cash. No matter what you are doing, you have to understand what your cash is doing.
Jason Njoku is the founder of Iroko TV, the world’s largest digital distributor of African movies. Iroko TV has been dubbed the ‘Netflix of Africa’. IrokoTV enjoys lucrative content distribution deals with Daily Motion, iTunes, Amazon, and Vimeo. Njoku is the company’s largest individual shareholder.
He was cited by Forbes Africa 2012 as one of the ‘Ten Young African Millionaires to Watch’. He has also been named as one of Fast Company’s Top 1000 Most Creative People in Business. On 29 August 2013, Njoku was named as the CNBC All Africa Business Awards Young Leader of the Year for West Africa.
Njeri Rionge – I’ve demonstrated that being a woman is not a barrier to success
As one of Kenya’s most successful businesswomen, Njeri Rionge is a co-founder of the multi-million dollar Wananchi Group, an Internet service provider which has gone on to become East Africa’s leading cable, broadband and IP (Internet-based) Phone Company. She has also founded other successful businesses including Ignite Consulting, a thriving business consultancy and Business Lounge, Kenya’s leading startup incubator.
Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu – Creating innovative world class products provides a road to greater prosperity
Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu is the founder and Managing Director of soleRebels, the world’s fastest-growing African footwear brand. soleRebels, today produces over 70,000 pairs of shoes every year and has been expanding rapidly and has over 18 stores around the world, including in Silicon Valley (USA), Japan, Singapore, Austria, Greece, Spain, and Switzerland. In 2015, Bethlehem launched a new venture, Republic of Leather, offering bespoke, hand crafted Leather wear and accessories.