All Articles Tagged "African entrepreneurs"
To be a successful entrepreneur in Africa, you must have raw courage, and blind perseverance to overcome mind-boggling bureaucracy and limited access to credit. In spite of these challenges many Africans have tapped into their entrepreneurial spirit and have been rewarded with success beyond their wildest dreams. Spanning every region of the continent, The Atlanta Post has compiled a diverse list of African visionaries who deserve to be profiled not only because of the size of their wallet, but also because of the phenomenal impact of their initiatives. Here are seven men and women whose stories will inspire you not to give up.
The Golden Boy
Even when he was a school boy, Aliko Dangote was eyeing the profit margin from the carton of sweets he was selling to his mates. By the time he was 21 he had secured a loan from his uncle to start a company which trades in cement. With strategic alliances and a sharp business acumen, he turned his company, the Dangote Group, into a commodities conglomerate operating in several African countries. According to Forbes’ 2011 rich list, at age 53 Dangote is worth 13 billion dollars, making him the richest man in Nigeria, and the 51st richest man in the world. dangote-group.com
(Forbes) — A Nigerian-born, UK-based high-end luxury jeweler and fashion designer –Alexander Amosu — has unveiled a $26,000 black diamond Blackberry. The 33 year-old Amosu, whose company Amosu Luxury designs customized gem-studded apparel, electronics and accessories for upscale clientele, revealed the Amosu Black Diamond Blackberry last week. The phone is set in 18 karat black gold and was created using close to 1,400 little diamonds weighing about 15cts VVS1. The Black Diamond Blackberry comes in a sleek crocodile case in varying colors, and buyers can have their names or personal logos embedded in the handset. Amosu Luxury designed only 10 of the handsets.
The women of Africa are doing big things, to say the least. As politicians, business executives, NGO leaders and policy makers, women are demonstrating that they are passionate about driving Africa’s economic and political growth. Based off of Forbes’ list, here are just several of Africa’s female prime players:
In 2005, Johnson Sirleaf made history when she was elected as the first female president of Liberia and all of Africa.The highlight of her time in office has been reducing Liberia’s national debt, which stood at approximately $4.9 billion in 2006. Her administration successfully negotiated for debt relief from international creditors, and in June 2010, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund waived off Liberia’s $4.9 billion foreign debt. Johnson-Sirleaf has limited excess borrowing by restricting annual borrowing to 3 percent of GDP and by limiting expenditure of borrowed funds to only one-off infrastructure projects.
(The Root) — In a 2008 study sponsored by Radio One, Black America Today, the majority of participants between the ages of 18 and 30 said they wanted to be entrepreneurs. ”The hip-hop generation believes in education, but not … that you need a good education in order to get a good job,” Cathy Hughes, founder of Radio One, said at a recent White House reporters’ roundtable. “They want a good education in order to work for themselves and to start their own businesses.” Hughes, who was tapped last year to chair the U.S. Small Business Administration’s newly created Council on Underserved Communities, says that the latest initiatives from the agency are designed to help burgeoning minority entrepreneurs. The 20-member advisory council, which represents professionals from various backgrounds, including banking experts and economists, will provide recommendations on how the SBA can strengthen businesses in underserved communities, as well as communicate directly with aspiring and working business owners around the country.
(New York Times) — Last month, three Rwandan owners, graduates of the three-year BPeace program, visited the United States during a trip that paired them with American businesses in their industries. The participants included Languida Nyirababeruka, who founded Pompe Funebre Twifatanye, a funeral home, after the 1994 genocide. Ms. Nyirababeruka, a former teacher who lost her job for political reasons, ran a tailoring business before 1994. The genocide claimed her husband and several family members, as well as her home and business. When it was over, she had to locate her three children, now in their 20s. “After the genocide, I started from scratch,” she said, speaking through an interpreter. A United Nations contact helped Ms. Nyirababeruka get a job as a cook, and she began to rebuild her life in Kigali.
(theLoop21) — You may recognize fashion designer Korto Momolu from being a finalist and the fan favorite on the hit fashion competition Project Runway. Since competing for the top spot, Momolu went back home to Arkansas and continued to create vibrant fashions with rich fabrics that made her a stand-out designer during Season Five. She was even tapped to create a collection of handbags and jewelry for Dillard’s. Now, Momolu is working on her most difficult collection ever for Amani Liberia’s “Sankofa Fashion Show,” later this month in her home country of Liberia. The only thing is, Momolu hasn’t been back to Liberia after her family was exiled in 1990 during the Civil War. Momolu chatted with theLoop21 about returning to her home that she hasn’t seen since August 1989 and what she hopes her collection will bring to Africa’s fashion industry.
(Bizcommunity.com) — “It’s important a strong message goes out that you don’t need patronage and a handout to succeed in business. You can do it by hard work and perseverance; by holding your head up and never holding your hand out. ”It’s satisfying to be recognised for that type of success and a great opportunity to give encouragement to self-starters, hard workers and go-getters that have very little else going for them.” Eight years ago, Zoë Molapisi launched her ‘one-stop’ communication group By Design as a one-woman start-up with no seed capital and no contracted clients. Today annual turnovers are fast approaching the R100 million mark and clients include major brands and institutions such as Coca-Cola, Telkom, Cell C and many blue chip clients across different sectors.
(Forbes) — In the past year Aliko Dangote’s fortune surged 557% to $13.8 billion, up from $2.1 billion, after he consolidated all his public and private cement holdings throughout Africa into the continent’s largest cement manufacturer and took it public on the Nigerian stock exchange in October. Dangote Cement now has a market value in excess of $13 billion, and accounts for a quarter of the Nigeria Stock Exchange’s total market capitalization. The dearth of native suppliers to meet increasing cement demand is driving the stock price. Dangote projects demand at 72 million metric tons and growing because of the drive to build infrastructure in Nigeria, Africa’s most populated nation, as well as other countries; current supply is 67 million metric tons, a shortfall of 5 million metric tons. For perspective, he is now richer than longtime white South African billionaires Nicky Oppenheimer of Debeers and Johann Rupert of luxury goods group Richemont, which owns Cartier, Dunhill and other premium brands.
(Wall Street Journal) — As a young engineer in South Africa’s apartheid era, Sandile Zungu was once asked by a white subordinate to use a separate toilet. As a businessman in the post-apartheid era of black empowerment, company doors of all kinds have opened to him. In little over a decade, the 44-year old has amassed a fortune by building a broad portfolio of business investments, from financial services to pest control. African art adorns his office walls in Johannesburg’s swank Sandton business district, and he drives a black Mercedes sedan to meetings, even if it means traveling a dusty road to a gold mine.
But mounting criticism of the Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment policy that has made that possible is pulling Mr. Zungu and other black moguls into a national debate over how to right history’s wrongs without upending business in Africa’s largest economy. BEE, as the policy is widely known, reaches across industries, compelling domestic and multinational companies operating here to meet such benchmarks as black ownership, skills training and development in poor communities. Ford Motor Co. last month said it plans to build a center to support black-owned, automobile-parts suppliers. Microsoft Corp. last year announced a $65 million program to cultivate young, black software developers. And Belgium’s Rezidor Hotel Group AB, which operates such brands as Radisson Blu Hotels and Resorts, expanded a partnership with black-owned South African enterprise Mvelaphanda Holdings (Pty) Ltd.
(Time) — On the top floor of an ugly office building in Mountain View, Calif., a dozen entrepreneurial dreams are taking flight. Raissa Nebie, a 31-year-old former investment banker from Ivory Coast, is putting the finishing touches on Spoondate, her top-secret dating site for food lovers. Andrew Maguire, a recent Columbia University grad (who talks really fast), is racking up listings for InternMatch, a Web service that pairs college students with paid internships. The airy space, with few walls, a panoramic view of Silicon Valley and a gaggle of first-time CEOs like Maguire and Nebie, is home to 500 Startups Accelerator, the latest high-tech incubator.
If all this seems a bit 1999, it is. Technology incubators, which invest in and nurture new tech businesses, proliferated during the last dotcom boom but then got a bad reputation in the bust, when firms like CMGI and eCompanies lost billions of dollars on countless start-up failures whose names have long been forgotten. That’s one reason new incubators like 500 Startups call their businesses accelerators instead. These new accelerators tend to invest less money in each start-up and receive a smaller stake of the company in exchange. For example, 500 Startups trades office space, mentoring and up to $100,000 in capital for 5% of each new venture it backs. TechStars, which was founded in Boulder, Colo., gives companies just $18,000 over a three-month period before showing entrepreneurs the door. The old-school incubator Idealab (founded by serial entrepreneur Bill Gross back in 1996), on the other hand, invests a minimum of $250,000 and keeps a 70% share of each firm.