Africa Business News: Entrepreneurs. Investments. Banking & Finance. Emerging Markets. Start-Ups
Monday, 16 December 2013
Diary Of An Under 30 CEO: Funding Is A State Of Mind
VENTURES AFRICA - As increased youth unemployment threatens to stunt Africa’s economic resurgence, the impact, which is turning it into a cancer too difficult to cure, even with chemotherapy of different poorly structured entrepreneurship development programs for the youth.
Probably, the most crucial challenge in the continent’s quest to promote free enterprise is coming up with possible solutions to lack to access capital by entrepreneurs. In a sense, the purpose of this article is to remind every aspiring entrepreneur to stay on course even as they prepare to embark on the biggest life changing experience.
Today, I will reiterate that turning your business idea into a venture that will propel itself into the top echelons of corporate Africa takes more than whining about a lack of funding for entrepreneurs. A sense of mission, coupled with a great desire to create a legacy should create a pathway to the investor community. Another helpful article on funding can be found here.
Due to the depressing number of entrepreneurial hopefuls that harp on the lack of capital as a reason for failure, it’s pertinent to remind ourselves that entrepreneurship is about passion, creativity, innovation and resourcefulness. Moreover, not everyone will be able to turn $13.40 into a successful paper bag company like Andrew Mupuya.
However, there are so many entrepreneurial opportunities on the African continent, which will be only visible once there is a shift in our old-fashioned mindsets. It’s pertinent to understand that once searching for funding becomes an obsession in order to become an entrepreneur, lack of capital becomes an unnecessary distraction; and what really happens if you fail to secure the required capital?
Not everyone can be connected to the right people to fund whatever business idea that we have at the same time. Nevertheless, for a passionate innovator, there is always a means to an end.
This week I had a refreshing discussion with an entrepreneur who has big dreams for himself, his region and the continent as a whole. In as much as he acknowledges that currently capital is a hindrance to the achievement of his vision, he is not whining about a lack of capital. He has already crafted a plan of how he is going to raise his financing.
I can gladly state that, his financing sources do not involve banks, venture capitalists, or any government freebies etc. His mind is his greatest source of funding, and he is already creating income streams that would afford him an opportunity to realize his big dream.
Where you start from doesn’t matter, it’s where you end up that matter. The sheer number of organizations that have failed to outlive the founders on the African continent is never shocking. Some entrepreneurs are only after gaining status in society, not building legacies. Few worry about building sustainable businesses.
Someone once told me that entrepreneurship is a calling, and the reason we don’t have legendary entrepreneurs on the continent is because we have a lot of accidental business people with great ambitions, to prove different things and not to create legacies.
For instance, he stated that some are obsessed with a desire to be powerful such that everything that they do is calculated to achieve that goal and nothing more. As another example, he further noted that some want to prove that they are valuable to a lover, business partner etc. that ditched them, beyond that they don’t have any other meaningful long-term plan.
Let me state that with the number of emails I get of disillusioned and frustrated people who can’t access funding for their business ventures, entrepreneurship is truly a calling. In entrepreneurship there is nothing called impossible. Impossible is nothing, literally. And if this was not true you wouldn’t be reading this in the first place, since it was the entrepreneurial genius of someone that made this possible.
However, entrepreneurship like anything else has ethos, and if your desires to be an entrepreneur are contrary to these, you will become frustrated and give-up quickly when capital doesn’t come easily to your footstep.
The cornerstone to being a successful entrepreneur is getting out of the self-entitlement mindset, forget about sourcing for capital; and realize that your customers will provide the easiest funding to support your dream and idea. Even if you don’t start with the business venture that you want, the right time to start developing your concept is now, by doing simple things that create income streams that can later fund your great idea.
“If you can’t get a job, create one,” says President Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania, but just how do we create sustainable jobs when the focus in on funding, not innovation?