To Africa with our Great Thanks
How it happened, we are not certain. About 18 months ago we became curious about the state of entrepreneurialism in Africa and it seemed that simultaneously, Africa became interested in us. The result is that over that period, our firm has completed 10 business plan engagements for clients in Nigeria, Ghana, Tanzania, Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo. So what have we learned?
- Entrepreneurialism is very active across the Continent. We have received inquiries for assistance from virtually every Country.
- Entrepreneurs appear to be young, smart, educated, ambitious and innovative. It should be no surprise that these are the same characteristics that entrepreneurs seem to share globally.
- For the most part, African based entrepreneurs think big and broad. We are working on assignments from large real estate projects to important technologies to alternative energy initiatives.
- Market opportunities in Africa are impressive. Quite simply, there is a great deal to do with little or no qualified competition in many industries.
- With the possible exception of South Africa, the domestic capital markets remain under-developed. There is no real surprise there although this phenomenon makes it critical that African based entrepreneurs insure that their investment documents professionally communicate their goals, strategies and the financial consequences of their success.
- Good deals are getting funded. During a visit to Nigeria earlier this month, I spent a day with a German based investment advisor who is looking for deals.
So, what should African based entrepreneurs be doing to increase their chances of business success?
- Do your homework. Be sure that you fully understand and are able to communicate a compelling market opportunity.
- Be “investor ready.” That means you have to know where you are going and how you are going to get there. Remember, it’s not about the idea, it’s about the execution.
- Establish a sense of trust, credibility, focus and a passion for the work with all stakeholders.
We continue to be very interested in working with entrepreneurs in Africa and we anticipate that 2011 will see us dramatically expanding our portfolio of clients throughout the Continent. Entrepreneurs are invited to contact us through our website or meet with us during one of our visits.