Entrepreneurship in Africa

Hadi Aboukhater - The Sankalp Africa Summit of 2015 launched last month. The summit brought together over 300 African entrepreneurs, government and corporate representatives, and investors to discuss entrepreneurial efforts that establish social change and democracy. Speakers at the summit reiterated the need for African entrepreneurs and investors to work together to solve systemic market needs. The emphasis being that collaboration is necessary to solve Africa’s social, economic, and financial problems.

The entrepreneurs were quite adept to identifying the gaps that need to be addressed and creating innovative solutions to close these gaps. Collaboration with like-minded individuals was also rampant throughout the summit.

Evelyn Omala is the Program Officer for the Segal Family Foundation and was in attendance last week. She travels around Africa building relationships with NGO partners and other potential individuals at the foreground of social change in Africa. SFF’s philosophy is to catch quality companies at the beginning stages of development who might not make enough capital to catch the eyes of investors. There are a lot of small startups within small communities that are extremely popular within their community and foster significant economic and social change.

The Chairman of the Kenya Young Parliamentarians Association, Johnson Sakaja, spoke at the Sankalp summit on the importance of increased investors to match the increasing numbers of entrepreneurs in Africa. There are plenty of startups in Africa that have created significant impacts in their community, so the next step is to scale these companies with help from investors.

The Sankalp summit has made it apparent that investors are turning their attention to Africa. The Global Impact Investing Network has revealed that investors are focusing on Sub Saharan Africa more than any other region when it comes to funding priorities for social finance. Impact investment is on the rise as more and more investors are looking to spend their capital on significant social impacts.

Entrepreneurship Advice for your Company’s Business Development

Hadi Aboukhater Entrepreneruship Business DevelopmentDeveloping a new business is no easy task. After all, a startup budget can only stretch so far, and such considerations as where to allocate limited resources and how to optimize dividends for given investments quickly pile on the table like casseroles at a church potluck. Here are a few helpful tips to help you flourish in your own business endeavor.
A key consideration along the way is how much time to delegate for pitching. As is often said, time is money, so you’ll want to be sure you’re using your time wisely while maintaining a delicate balance of time invested in creating a quality pitch to time invested in scouting out new pitches for potential clients. More commonly, businesses make the easy mistake of seeking out as many pitches as possible while not focusing enough time on honing the pitch to a fine point. In the end, there’s no sense in making a pitch that will likely end in failure. This is an easy way to both waste time and make a lukewarm impression of your business, sending your venture nowhere fast. Give due time and research to creating a quality pitch that presents a clear point. Know how to articulate your ideas in a way that’s convincing and engaging.
Next, you’ll want your account teams to collaborate in generating new leads. Suggest a coffee meeting or lunch to bounce ideas around. Bringing heads together is a pivotal move. Offer suggestions that cater to the business’s best interest as a whole, and motivate collaborative action with short term incentive.
Be sure your company’s PR plan aligns with the company’s mission. Consistency in your message is what makes clients realize your cohesiveness and conviction in yourself as a business. An unorganized and scattered idea of your goals and purpose puts your company’s identity in jeopardy, and makes you seem unsure of yourself.
These are just a few points of advice. Of course, everyone has a wide gamut of varied experience in developing a business, and the best advice is subjective based on your services, placement, strengths and weaknesses.

Questions to ask Yourself as a Starting Entrepreneur

Hadi Aboukhater young entrepreneurA recent article in Business News Daily talks about the other side of the entrepreneurial coin. On one side of the coin, there is the business acumen. Does the product work? Is the product scalable? Is the market research all laid out?

On the flip side, there is a more psychological side of entrepreneurship. Now a days, many young people are becoming increasingly displeased with their 9 to 5 jobs, so they turn towards business school or simply starting their own business. A lot of people think that becoming their own boss and developing their own product will fix all of their problems. As an entrepreneur, there is an abundance of freedom and various possibilities, but this is only half of it. The reality of the whole situation is that there is a lot of hard work that comes with running a company. A lot of discipline is required throughout the entire process. There is a certain emotional and mental preparedness that early entrepreneurs must keep in mind before initiating this long journey.

The article continues to ask a couple of questions that young entrepreneurs should ask themselves before starting on this journey. The first question is: Why do I want to do this? There are many entrepreneurs out there that easily get excited about an idea because of the opportunities to make money. They don’t have a clear vision of why they are creating such a product and the value that they want to instill in the world. Passion, drive, and discipline are necessary for when the going gets tough, which it will.

The next question: Am i sure that the job that I have now can’t fulfill these desires? Some people simply need more structure and a clearer brand. A lot of people jump into entrepreneurship only because they are not content with their current job. The simple solution to this might be that they need a new job.

Question #3: Do I have a strong network base? The network base is huge when it comes to starting a business. Having people to bounce ideas off of, having people in different industries that can help expand the brand will only make scaling easier.

The last question is What time frame am I comfortable with? A business owner needs to have a time frame in mind so that they are psychologically prepared for the journey ahead. This will allow for a more structured attack rather than a sporadic day by day life filled with uncertainty at every corner.

Entrepreneurship Lessons: From Dead-End Jobs to Entrepreneur

Hadi Aboukhater Entreprneurship MindA recent article on Fast Company’s blog describes four entrepreneurship lessons learned by Chet Kittleson while working dead-end jobs. Over the course of his career, Chet has worked as a pizza delivery driver, salesman, boat cleaner, landscaper, dishwasher, shoe stocker, house painter and cloths folder. Each one of these jobs taught him something different and made him into the entrepreneur that he his today. Chet organizes this article into four key entrepreneurial lessons.

He starts out by promoting perspective as a key aspect in becoming a good entrepreneur. Perspective helps people get through tough times, and as an entrepreneur, there will be plenty of tough times to get through. Having gone through numerous dead-end jobs can help an entrepreneur gain perspective to help him through his own rough times. An entrepreneur will feel less pain if he has already gone through low pay, no benefits, and working overtime. Perspective helps the entrepreneur stay focused rather than dwelling on the negative.

The next word of advice is empathy. Empathy is the emotional understanding of another person’s state of mind. When dealing with customer’s it is always essential to empathize with their needs. By empathizing rather than catering to your own needs, you are able to develop a better relationship with your customer. In various jobs, a customer base might come from a completely different mindset than the employees. It is essential to focus on their needs because that is what customer service is all about.

Going off of empathy, customer service is the next word of advice. In the business world, there will be a lot of people who are different. From a global entrepreneurship standpoint, one must embrace the differences and focus on the task at hand. Learning to cope with customer service takes time, but it is important to understand the employer-customer dynamic when entering the business world.

The last word of advice that Chet has for us is drive. Working hard is essential in any position of entrepreneurship. Perspective can help fuel drive and lead people to work harder than they have ever worked before. If someone works hard at whatever they do, keeps customers happy, and maintains a good perspective, this can really help bolster an entrepreneurial career.