Africa’s women provide a large part of the continent’s entrepreneurial strength and potential. Aspiring entrepreneurs can learn from the powerful tips that five successful business women in different parts of the continent offer. “They have defied the norm that says they need to stay home. They are cut from a different cloth and set themselves apart as women the younger generation could look up to”, says Ghanaian blogger G.K. Sarpong, who spoke to all five entrepreneurs.
Susan Githuku (Kenya) - Sacrifice
Kenya’s Susan Githuku is a human resource practitioner and a development economist with over a decade of experience working for Coca Cola. Githuku is a now an entrepreneur and a business consultant and this is what she has for all aspiring entrepreneurs.
“Sacrifice is absolutely relevant whether you are an employee in a great corporate institution, whether you are a sportsman who must put in the hours training or whether you are an entrepreneur such as myself, working away the nights to ensure that you are delivering on promises that you’ve made to customers or clients.”
Divine Ndhlukula (Zimbabwe) – Discipline
Zimbabwe’s Divine Ndhlukula is the founder of Securico, a security firm in Zimbabwe that employs over 3500 people with an annual turnover of over $5 million. This is what Ndhlukula had to say to aspiring entrepreneurs.
“I always say there is no easy road to anywhere worth going. One’s got to apply themselves. One’s got to put in that extra effort. One’s got to have the discipline to be able to say: Look, I’ve made a bit of money, invest back the money into business so that it grows. I think that is the folly of many of our people. You make a bit of money and you think you’ve arrived. You start spending the money and the business does not grow.”
Lilly Alfonso (Malawi) – Believe in your dream
Lilly Alfonso is a Malawian entrepreneur who turned her childhood passion into a global fashion company. Having been awarded as the best fashion designer in Malawi, Lilly is better placed to advice young and aspiring entrepreneurs.
“ I’d advise everybody who has talent - it’s not only in fashion - I’d advise everybody to believe in themselves, and do whatever it takes to make it happen for them because God gives us this blessing but it depends on us to start acting on it. If you know that you can do it, don’t stop it, no matter how you are criticized.”
Grace Amey Obeng (Ghana) – Set out to solve problems
CEO of FC Group of Companies, Grace Amey Obeng well-known for making her fortune through promotion of products which emphasize black beauty is among the many unique African businesswomen bringing about change in society. Starting her business about 25 years ago with a little over $100 then, Grace has been able to turn her fortune around and now earns an annual turnover upwards of $8 million.
“The women in the market had destroyed their skin with all this kind of beauty products, bleaching products and so I saw the need for assisting them to reverse the process because otherwise it would become a social problem.” Taking a cue from the head of FC Beauty Clinic, the key question every entrepreneur should ask of himself before doing any business should be straightforward; “Is my business going to solve societal problems or add to the already existing ones?” To make it in business, set out to solve problems and lasting success will inevitably knock on your door.
Dorcas Muthoni (Kenya) – make a difference
Dorcas Muthoni is the founder and CEO of Openworld Ltd, a specialist computer software company she established in Kenya when she was just 24 years old. Today her company is the leading web and cloud applications in Africa. This is what Dorcas had to say;
“If you think you have a solution to a particular problem or challenge that you see in society or in a particular market sector, then just go for it because that is the starting point that can lead you to being able to start a business- you identify a need, you find and develop a solution to meet that need and you make a difference.”
G.K. Sarpong, business blogger of ‘The Raw Africa’ has authored over seven books and hundreds of articles, some of which include Entrepreneurship Africa, Develop the Master in You, Building Success and Answers to Life’s Foundational Questions.