We accelerate startups and assist local and international companies
grow their business in Africa
Appropriate Afrocentric Content Bias
Ian was born in Nairobi in 1962, a year before Kenya’s independence from Britain. From an early age Ian’s father instilled in him an appreciation for the nature and culture of Africa, always optimistically asking “Ian, where is better than here?”
Having obtained his Engineering Degree from the University of Cape Town, he joined Hoechst AG’s Graduate Development Programme in South Africa, remaining with this large Chemical Conglomerate until they unbundled the business in 1999, and then taking up MBO opportunities presented by their departure from Africa.
Ian’s career has taken him to 22 African Countries; he has set-up businesses in 12 jurisdictions and worked in a wide spectrum of sectors, leading to a deep understanding of what makes business in Africa sustainable.
Consolidating research from five leading educational institutions and understanding the reasons why SMEs succeed or fail in Africa suggests a new model should be adopted for all those in support related businesses.
In the Model we use for “The 101 of Entrepreneurship in Africa” we understand that being an Entrepreneur is an extremely challenging. Many face a “4 year burn out” where many quit to do something easier. Our model attempts to put the steps in the Entrepreneurial process into easy to understand by going through the steps that successful start-ups have gone through:
Get Educated. Become an expert in the field you wish to get into, read up, join Social Media Groups, start curating a library of information on your Facebook Page that later will serve as an easy referencing tool.
Acquire the Entrepreneurship skills that are relevant to your project. For example if there is an export aspect to the business then you need to understand Transfer and Country Risk Mitigation strategies.There are also many course on Entrepreneurship available, on-line, part time or full time.
Work as an intern, or under a learnership or apprenticeship for at least six months to really understand the dynamics in the sector you want to get into. For example if you want to start commercial farming go and work for the top commercial farm near you. Make attempts to bridge the hard skills gaps that you have identified by taking trade courses.
Incubate your project. Take time to get it ready, write a business plan for your family and friends (they are the most likely to invest in you at this early stage). There are also business incubators in many centers such as The University of Johannesburg’s Centre for Entrepreneurship in Soweto (UJCE) – these resources are affordable and will hep you test your ideas and start the funding application process. They will also help you get compliant with the Authorities. It is also important to find a Business Coach that can help you get to the next level.
Once you have raised Start-up funding (approximately $500 in Sub Saharan Africa) then get going. Don’t wait for the Million Dollar loan or investor as it is extremely unlikely that they will come on board yet.
Having run the business commercially for a while and understanding that you are getting traction then it’s time to approach a funding institution. Your Business Plan will describe the context with focus on the economic, community and entrepreneurial viability of the business.
Assuming you get through Step 6, then you are moving ahead nicely. Take time to be sure your risk mitigation strategies are implemented and functioning. It may be time to take on a partner, merge with another company or get Structured Trade Finance Facilities up and running.
Having navigated these 7 steps you are on of the 1 in 1,000 that will go onto create multi million $ companies. BUT BE AWARE OF ONE THING:
Africa Entrepreneurship Academy