If you are reading this now, you are obviously interested in entrepreneurship in Africa or want to learn how to navigating through its challenges. In today article, we cover amazing facts you need to know about entrepreneurship.
But before we move any further, let’s take a look at what entrepreneurship really means.
What is Entrepreneurship?
If you are to take a minute to search for the meaning of the word What is Entrepreneurship with a search engine, you are definitely going to find a lot of definitions but this is what Oxford Dictionary defines Entrepreneurship as:
“the activity of making money by starting or running businesses, especially when this involves taking financial risks; the ability to do this”
This is a definition I believe everyone can understand.
Entrepreneurship is all about the creation or should I say the extraction of value which is then designed and launched as a full functioning business enterprise. The person who creates this business enterprise is then called an Entrepreneur.
The Entrepreneur is the one who bears all the risks in other to make a profit or impact from the business.
According to economists, an Entrepreneur is someone who has the ability to convert inventions and technologies into products and services that serves as the solution to a particular problem in society.
And as long as the product or service solves that problem well, the Entrepreneur makes money from it.
Who can become an entrepreneur?
Entrepreneurship in Africa is difficult to pull through because of its enormous challenges. So the questions about who can become an entrepreneur especially in Africa is crucial and we will answer that shortly.
Yes, this is very true. Anyone, you and I, can become a successful entrepreneur but not everyone can attain the same level of success.
Also, not everyone has the ability to bear the risks associated with entrepreneurship.
Not everyone has the necessary skills that are needed to become an entrepreneur but the truth is that all the skills can be learnt.
You can become an entrepreneur only if you have the readiness and willingness to put in all you’ve got, bear the risk and develop the necessary skills needed to become an entrepreneur.
But one thing to you needs to avoid is to go into Entrepreneurship for the wrong reason just as Amine Rahal, the CEO of IronMonk, explained in Forbes. You have to go into Entrepreneurship with the mindset of solving the customer’s problem effectively and not just to make money.
You also have to develop the characteristics of an Entrepreneur and if you can read it down to the end, we have a special gift for you from YIEE.
What is the characteristics of an entrepreneur?
You probably need to what is the characteristics of an entrepreneur are in order to develop them.
All entrepreneurs in Africa and beyond have certain characteristics and some are:
5 Characteristics of Entrepreneurship
- Risk taking.
Motivation is one thing common to all Entrepreneurs. They are mostly self-motivated to keep going even when things aren’t going as planned.
They invest all their resources into their business and strive to take it off the ground to the top. They do all these while putting into consideration the risk and fear of failure.
They are strongly motivated to stay focus and keep moving even where they are not getting any reward now because they know their reward will come to them later in the future.
When times are hard and things are not going well as planned, one of the things that keep Entrepreneurs going is the passion for what they do or better still the love for what they do.
They totally love what they do and some entrepreneurs can keep doing it even if there is no financial reward for it now.
The desire to make a difference is also what Entrepreneurs have and if you what to become an entrepreneur you must follow your passion and do what you love.
If you don’t do what you love, there is a possibility that you would give up when things get tough because you don’t have passion for what you do.
All Entrepreneurs have a vision. They have a big picture of what they want to achieve with their enterprise, how they plan to achieve it and who they need to achieve it.
This is very important because it directs the day to day activities of an Entrepreneur. The vision is also what defines the identity of the business enterprise and tells what will be prioritized as the most important act or task to the enterprise.
To become an entrepreneur, you will need to have a very clear vision and have the ability to communicate that vision to your employees and investors so they can see where you are going and also be in the same phase with you.
#4. Risk taking:
Entrepreneurs are always willing and ready to bear risks when things go wrong. They are willing to venture into opportunities even when the possibility of failing is high.
They take calculated risks that will help the growth of their business and when they fail, they learn from their failures and get things fixed and move on.
Developing your ability to take risks is one thing you must do in other to cope with the ups and downs of running a business and becoming comfortable with facing challenges.
Only then do you have the chance of becoming a successful Entrepreneur?
Creativity is what starts the entrepreneurship journey. It all starts with a creative idea on how to solve a particular problem in society and that the people are willing to pay you for your solution.
To become an entrepreneur, you have to be creative. You have to set aside some of your time each day for critical thinking to come up with creative and unique ideas to enhance the growth of your business and be on top of the competition in your field.
If you plan to become an entrepreneur, you have to develop the characteristics of an entrepreneur, have a positive mindset toward entrepreneurship and also understand the process of becoming an entrepreneur.
What are the processes of becoming an entrepreneur
So let me work you through the process of becoming an entrepreneur.
Many investors and upcoming entrepreneurs wondered if entrepreneurship in Africa can really thrive. There are normal of Africans companies which have become a unicorn. Although Africa is at its early stage been the youngest continent and this makes opportunities enormous.
To become an entrepreneur, there are processes you have to follow and these processes are very important.
Although the process might be different depending on what you want to venture into there are a few similarities in the process every entrepreneur goes through and they work well notwithstanding what you want to venture into.
The processes of becoming an entrepreneur are:
- Discover Your Niche or Industry.
- Make your Research.
- Get Educated.
- Start small and grow from there.
#1. Discover Your Niche or Industry:
The very first step to take in other become an entrepreneur is to discover your niche or industry.
Find out what industry you would like to venture into and also the niche that you want to go for. A little guide to making this decision is this:
Go for what you love, have passion for and most importantly what you have full knowledge of because if you want to succeed in any industry, you have to know your business more than anyone else, especially your competitors.
It’s ok if you don’t know much about the industry you are passionate about now but what this means is that you would have to dedicate time to study it well and gain a full understanding of what it entails and see if it is a good fit for you.
#2. Make your Research:
Now, that you have decided on the industry you want to venture into, the next thing to do is to make your research (or should I say do your homework).
You have to study the market in that industry and know what they need, what their problems are and what the existing businesses are doing to satisfy that need and problem.
One thing you would want to focus on is to develop creative ways or products to solve people’s problems better than your competitors do.
You also have to evaluate the level of demand for what you what to offer. If the demand for it is low, then you might want to change your industry or the niche but if the demand is on the high side and the people are willing to give out their money in exchange for what you offer then, you can take the next step.
#3. Get Educated:
As an entrepreneur, there are a lot of skills you would need to have and you probably have little or non of them.
If you really want to become an entrepreneur, then you have to learn the skills required to become one.
Some of these skills are:
- Business management skills
- Teamwork and leadership skills
- Critical thinking skills
- Customer service skills
- Financial skills
- Marketing skills
- Analytical and problem-solving skills and so on.
You don’t have to attend a college to learn some of the skills but if you have the time to attend one, you should.
But if you don’t have the time to attend a college to learn any of these skills, you can take an online course or better still get books and study them.
#4. Start small and grow from there:
Nothing happens not until you start. You have to make the first move and grow from there.
Some aspiring entrepreneurs keep waiting for the best time to start their business. Well, the best time to start was yesterday but you have another opportunity and that is today.
Start from the first sales and then the next. Though there are some businesses that experience rapid growth from the start-up stage within a short period of time that is not the case all the time.
Grow your network, sell your ideas and also market your product or service and keep it going.
6 Types of Entrepreneurship in Africa and beyond
Now lets for a moment take a look at the different types of entrepreneurship in Africa and even beyond that we have.
The word “Entrepreneurship” is a general word that has underlining types because of the fact that not all entrepreneurs behave the same way or have the same vision of what they want their business to look like and how they want to achieve it.
Some of the types of entrepreneurship in Africa and beyond are:
- Innovative entrepreneurship
- Hustler entrepreneurship
- Imitator entrepreneurship
- Researcher entrepreneurship
- Buyer entrepreneurship
- Social entrepreneurship
#1. Innovative Entrepreneurship:
Innovation is what births this type of entrepreneurship. Innovative entrepreneurs are the people who identify a unique problem in society and develop creative solutions or ideas on how to solve that problem and then build a business around it.
The idea could be in form of a product or a service offered to the masses in the marketplace.
They are sometimes mostly concerned about making the world a better place with the solutions they have to offer. They are extremely passionate and motivated by the unique nature of their business idea.
The innovative entrepreneurs usually face little or no competition at the initial state of running their business because they are the first to develop the idea but as time goes on, the competition rises as other types of entrepreneurs adopt the idea.
#2. Hustler Entrepreneurship:
The hustler entrepreneurs are the types of entrepreneurs who are willing to do the hard work and ” get their hands dirty”.
They often start out with whatever they have and have a vision of growing bigger as time passes and they have no other way to get there other than intensive hard work.
The vision they have is one thing that motivates them and drives them to want to achieve it. The hustler entrepreneurs do not give up easily and are always ready to face the challenges and obstacles in the way of achieving their goals.
This type of entrepreneur usually start a small business or a large company depending on the capital they have at hand and are very much focused on getting their business off the ground.
#3. Imitator Entrepreneurship:
Every product, service or business idea can be improved upon to a better state but most innovative entrepreneurs don’t think of ways to improve their product or service after they have launched it.
This is where the imitator entrepreneurs come in. They identify unique products or services that are existing and think of ways to make them better.
They go through what complaints the customers make about the existing product or service and then make specific improvements to settle those complaints and create a business around it.
By doing this, they usually gain an upper hand in the competition because their products or service are better than others.
The imitator entrepreneurs are both innovators and hustlers. They think of creative ways to improve existing products or services and are willing to do the hard work to get things done.
They learn from the mistakes the innovative entrepreneurs made when starting out their own businesses and have a high chance of succeeding.
#4. Researcher Entrepreneurship:
In this type of entrepreneurship, the entrepreneurs, often called the researchers, even after having the unique idea will take their time to make research on it and gather relevant information about the idea.
They make sure that they have a full understanding of what they are about to venture into before they do.
They believe that success is sure if the right information and preparation are made. They rely on facts and data rather than their intuition when running their business.
When launching a business, the researcher entrepreneurs take much more time because they want to gain a deep understanding of their business idea. They usually have a complete business plan.
#5. Buyer Entrepreneurship:
One thing common with the entrepreneurs under this type of entrepreneurship is their wealth. The buyer entrepreneurs identify promising businesses and they purchase them with their wealth.
As the name implies, what they do is simply to buy a business that they believe have high value and make some changes in the management and structure of the business to increase its productivity.
There is little or no risk attached to this type of entrepreneurship because they are purchasing businesses that have developed a strong foundation and profit can be predicted.
So all they have to do is to buy a business and grow its profit.
#6. Social Entrepreneurship:
Solving a social problem is what social entrepreneurs do with their products or services.
They have a burning desire to make the world a better place and don’t care if they make any profit from doing that.
Some social entrepreneurs set up nonprofit organizations that a bent on providing a solution to a social problem.
Now that you know the types of entrepreneurship that we have, you can clearly know from within you which type of entrepreneur you want to become and possibly make plans toward it.
Importance of Entrepreneurship in Africa and beyond
If there is an increase in the number of entrepreneurs in a continent, it sure would lead to various positive results because entrepreneurship is very important for the Africa continent. But what are the importance of entrepreneurship in Africa and beyond?
The importance of entrepreneurship to society is of great relevance. Entrepreneurship is one thing that affects all parts the society positively.
The importance of entrepreneurship in Africa and beyond are:
#1. Improve standard of living
When it comes to the improvement of the standard of living and also the creation of wealth, entrepreneurship plays a major role in achieving that. As the number of entrepreneurs rises in any country, there is always a noticeable drop in the level of unemployment and this, in turn, affects the national income of that country.
One amazing thing about entrepreneurs is that they create jobs.
The national income of the country tends to rise drastically as the incoming tax increases.
#2. Contribute to economic development
Entrepreneurship also drives the increase in innovation and business ideas that assists economic development and also citizens. Creating a social change in the ways things are done or problems are solved by offering unique solutions to the problem. Thereby breaking the old or traditional ways of solving those problems making it easier and also faster to solve with the product or service they provide.
Entrepreneurs tend to also assist community development even outside their business. They could sponsor a community project and also donate to local charity organizations in the community.
Aspiring to become an entrepreneur means aspiring to become an important figure in society but as an entrepreneur, there are a lot of challenges to overcome no matter what part of the world you decide to run your business.
4 Challenges Entrepreneurs In Africa Faced and Solutions to them.
Here are some of the challenges many entrepreneurs in Africa faced and the possible solutions to them. (you probably can learn a lot from it.).
Successful entrepreneurs in Africa all have a story to tell. They have managed to get their business going despite the challenge they all faced.
Although there are some challenges that are not general but are specific to the business you are running, there are still some other general challenges faced by entrepreneurs in Africa and here are a few of the major ones:
- Financing entrepreneurship in Africa seems impossible
- High Competition.
- Political Instability makes entrepreneurship in Africa difficult.
#1. Financing entrepreneurship in Africa:
The one major challenge entrepreneurs faced especially during the start-up is a financial problem – the capital. Financing entrepreneurship in Africa seems impossible but there are quite a number of Africa businesses pulling a lot of finances, how are they doing this?
Raising funds to run a business effectively is a big challenge in Africa because there is limited access to funds and when they are accessed, they come with high requirements that most entrepreneurs cannot meet up.
Some of these funds come with high-interest rates and extra bank charges and all this makes it difficult for an entrepreneur to take a loan.
Also, the lack of financial proposals and financial knowledge makes this challenge worsen.
If entrepreneurs have the right financial knowledge, raising funds would not be an issue at all.
Some of them are even unaware of Micro Finance Banks in Africa that would be will to partner with them in their business by providing funds.
So the solution to this challenge is to get financial knowledge either for a course, book a program, seminars and so on. With financial knowledge, raising found shouldn’t be an issue.
While financing the business is one challenge, another challenge entrepreneurs face is the presence of poor infrastructures.
Poor transportation systems, poor Internet service, poor electricity supply, these and many more are some of the challenges faced by entrepreneurs in Africa
The transportation system in some African countries is so bad that some businesses find it difficult to transport their products around in the country and even if they managed to get their product transported it takes a longer time and the cost is high.
Businesses dealing with perishable products sometimes run into losses because most of the produce gets spoilt before they get to their destinations
Some businesses need the presence of a non-stop electrical power supply to function optimally but this isn’t available in a huge part of Africa. Those that can afford it, rely on the use of backup generators to power their activities.
To deal with this challenge, infrastructural development plans should be made by the government and should be properly executed.
All infrastructures can not be provided at once but if the government can stick to providing each in a year or two, in the next 10 years Africa would be a good place to run any business and this would improve the economy of Africa.
#3. High Competition:
For entrepreneurs starting their business with an innovative idea that has not been in existence before, competition is not a problem at the being but this arises after a while.
Those starting a business with high competition always face the problem of developing trust in the marketplace.
People like to purchase goods or services from large brands that have been in existence long enough to gain their trust.
Well, the solution to this is to find ways to stand out from the crowd. Make sure your business idea is unique and solve the problem of the people better than the existing businesses.
Brand trust is something that is developed over time so be patient and work hard at pleasing every customer that your business has.
#4. Political Instability makes entrepreneurship in Africa difficult.
When running a business, entrepreneurs tend to rely on forecasts and predictions on what their business would be in the future based on the current information they have about various aspects of their business includes the economy.
Political instability is a common challenge in most African countries. It makes entrepreneurship in Africa difficult and when this political instability sets in, most of the predictions made by the entrepreneurs become wrong due to a change in government policy that affects the economy.
The constant change in government policy as a result of a change in the people in power is also a challenge that affected entrepreneurs in the past and is still affecting entrepreneurs in Africa today.
This is a great task on the part of the governments in Africa. One thing that is constant is change so policies must change over time but the rate to which it affects the economy can be controlled.
The people in power should take time to analyse any policy to be made. Its positive impact on the economy and also its negative impact should be viewed and checked.
If the negative impact is much greater than the positive impact then that policy shouldn’t be made but If the positive impact in greater and there will be no adverse effect on the economy by the policy, then it can be made.
Having read to this point you probably must have been waiting to know what gift we have for you.
Well here is a special gift for you.
5 Crazy Tips to building a successful business.
As an aspiring entrepreneur who wants to someday run a business and eventually end up with success, here are some tips on how to do that.
- Have a unique business idea.
- Work hard.
- Focus on sales.
- Be Focus and Consistent.
- Get a mentor.
#1. Have a unique business idea:
As an entrepreneur who wants to succeed and stands out in the crowd of competitors, having a unique business idea is very important.
There are a number of ventures who did entrepreneurship in Africa or businesses in Africa and thrive. One of them is Flutterwave and Paystack. What makes this two stand out is their unique business idea.
Make sure your product or service is far better than that of your competitors in satisfying the customer’s needs and be able to communicate the value of your product or service to the customers in a way that is believable.
Once they believe your product or service can solve their problem much better than the way others does, then they will be able to give it a try and if your product or service delivers as promised, sales won’t be a problem because they will come for more and also refer you to others.
#2. Work hard:
There is no substitute for hard work in the entrepreneurial journey. You have to work hard to get your business going.
Only by hard work have the previous entrepreneurs made it to success so if you want to succeed as an entrepreneur, you have to be hardworking.
Now when I say you need to work hard, I don’t mean you have to outwork yourself. All you have to do is to smartly work hard on things that are most important to your business sustainability.
#3. Focus on sales:
The bloodline of every business is sales. 90% of business start-ups fail in the first 5 years and one of the major reasons for this is lack of sales.
When there are no sales, there is no business. If you want to succeed in the business world, you have to dedicate your time to market your product or service to potential customers.
You have to monitor the sales team activities – if you have one – and be sure that they are driving in sales. If you are the one handling the sale yourself, then you might need to study the art of selling and master it.
If no one buys anything from your business, the chances of you closing down the business is high so don’t wait for that. Get into the marketplace and make the loudest noise till you are heard (market your product or service).
#4. Be Focus and Consistent:
To become successful in any business, you have to be focused on what you want. There will surely be challenges on your way but you shouldn’t allow any of them to shift your focus.
Set SMART GOAL and focus on achieving them and be consistent in your business activities. Work on the most important tasks day in day out.
It would be hard at the beginning but through repetition of these activities, they tend to become a habit and are much easier to do.
#5. Get a mentor:
Having someone to mentor you can be one of the best things that would help you in becoming a successful entrepreneur.
Just find someone that is doing what you are venturing into and has the kind of success you want and is willing to mentor you, you might have to pay for it but trust me it is worth it.
A mentor tells you how exactly they got the success they have now, tells you to want you need to do to get there and guides you also.
The journey to success as an entrepreneur is something that every entrepreneur passes through but only a few gets there.
You too can be among a few years from now. So take that great step into becoming an entrepreneur, follow the process as I have explained above in this article and work hard at it.
Good luck to us all at YIEE.
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