“Value creation through entrepreneurship is Africa’s unique path forward — distinct from emerging markets like China with its state-run enterprises, or Korea with its ‘Chaebol’ conglomerates, or India with its large family-run businesses”-Tony Elumelu
The spirit of entrepreneurialism, with its promise or reduced youth unemployment and economic renewal, is certainly gathering steam across Africa. But true entrepreneurship-led transformation will require a mindset shift amongst Africa’s small business owners.
From South Africa’s Silicon Cape to Kenya’s iHub-centered Silicon Savannah movement – from Ethiopia’s burgeoning textiles industry to Nigeria’s ubiquitous Nollywood film industry – there are visible signs of the growing profile of African entrepreneurs. Government programs abound: YEDF in Kenya, SEDA in South Africa, and YOUWIN in Nigeria to mention a few.
It is the time to shine for Africa’s entrepreneurs, who are more connected than ever to new ideas.
Focus of Discussion:
Bunmi is an entrepreneurial strategy consultant and social investor. He co-founded StrategyQ, an SME advisory company to stabilize and deepen the roots of small African businesses. StrategyQ recently developed 1-PagePlan.com, a venture-financing site designed to significantly improve access to finance for 2,500 SME businesses in the next 2 years.
A firm believer in enterprise solutions to poverty, Bunmi launches youth-run businesses in “bottom-of-the-pyramid” markets to create sustainable social transformation in Africa through his non-profit, Generation Enterprise. By adapting Silicon Valley startup concepts, poor, undereducated youth in Nigeria establish innovative businesses that create wealth and jobs for themselves and their communities. Generation Enterprise has now co-created over 40 businesses and plugs them into local supply chains, moving the otherwise precarious youth from the informal sector to formal business.
Prior to his entrepreneurial pursuits, Bunmi was a consultant with KPMG where he advised 3 of Africa’s biggest companies in cement manufacturing, telecoms and banking across Nigeria, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Togo, South Africa. He is a strong advocate for improving access to finance for Africa’s youth. He has spoken at the Harvard Africa Business Conference, International Labor Organization Work4Youth conference, TEDxLagos, TV stations and has received the KPMG Africa Chairman’s Social Innovation Award, LEAP Africa Social Innovation Award amongst others. He co-founded and sits on the board several non-profit ventures including GenVoices.org, Unveiling Africa Foundation, Engineers with a Mission, and Kinnect. He holds a BSc. in Electrical & Computer Engineering from Baylor University, TX.
Sangu is a passionate Pan-Africanist who has traveled to about 30 countries was named Africa’s top 30 under 30 entrepreneurs by Forbes in 2014. While enrolled at Harvard, Sangu co-founded Cleanacwa (formerly the African Development Initiative), which embarked on a five-year project to bring sanitation and clean water to Agyementi, a village in Ghana. Today Cleanacwa is working in underdeveloped regions to make sure that water and sanitation, basic human rights, are provided.
After having worked at Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Valiant Capital Partners, Sangu founded Golden Palm Investments (GPI) to fund promising start-ups that can have social impact and generate jobs. GPI has backed startups such as Solo Mobile in Nigeria, mPharma in Ghana and Zamsolar in Zambia. GPI has also built a portfolio of greenfield companies in healthcare, real estate, agriculture and financial services. Sangu serves as the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of GPI.
A well-known speaker, Sangu has given talks on Africa at Harvard University, Yale University, Carnegie Mellon, and other universities and high schools worldwide. He co-authored and published Contemporary Africa through Poetry in 2012 and is working on his forthcoming book Seeding Growth: Africa’s Youngest Entrepreneurs, in which he chronicles his journey traveling through 17 countries across Africa in 2013 interviewing and profiling young entrepreneurs making a difference on the continent.
When he’s not working on wells in Suhum or meeting startups in Nairobi, Sangu works on his coursework. He is a current Soros Fellow pursuing a dual Juris Doctor of Law and MBA at Harvard Law School and Harvard Business School.
Eric Kinoti is the C.E.O and Founder of Shades Systems East Africa Limited – a company dedicated to manufacturing a wide-range of high quality products including car-parking shades, restaurant canopies and various kinds of tents, for supply to clients across East Africa.
Mr. Kinoti, who begun the highly successful Shades Systems at just 24 years of age, is proving to be a virtually unstoppable entrepreneurial force. Since 2009, he has successfully launched two other enterprises: Safisana Home Services Limited (2012) and Bag Base Kenya (2013). Safisana Home Services provides professional home-support services to over 40 client households while Bag Base Kenya is a subsidiary of Shades Systems that deals in the manufacture of all kinds of bags.
Mr. Kinoti’s entrepreneurial capabilities have not gone unrecognized. At 29, Mr. Kinoti is celebrated as one of Africa’s leading young entrepreneurs. Earlier in 2014, he was featured on Forbes ’30 most promising young entrepreneurs to watch in Africa’. In 2012 he was named one of Kenya’s leading 40 under 40 men by Nation Media Groups Business Daily Newspaper. His story, which has appeared in various media publications, inspires many. A former hotel cashier who made it big, Mr. Kinoti stands as testament to how any one, through diligence and tenacity, can overcome great odds to accomplish incredible feats and how meager beginnings should never be easily deployed as an excuse for failing to achieve abundant success.
Issam Chleuh is the Founder & CEO at Africa Impact Group. As the CEO, Issam is in charge of driving the organization’s vision and mission, developing existing partnerships and creating new ones – influencing the growth of impact investing in Africa. Since the summer of 2008, Issam has devoted his career to impact investing. He worked for three years at Ernst & Young in Boston in their Asset Management Group, focusing on Private Equity audit, valuation and due diligence. While at Ernst & Young, he launched a Task Force on Impact Investing.
A native of Mali, Issam was born in Mauritania and grew up in Guinea, Benin, Morocco, Mali, Republic of Congo, Ghana, Senegal and the USA. Issam is considered one of Forbe’s Africa 30 under 30 most promising entrepreneur in 2014
Issam has a Bachelor in Global Business, Finance & Accounting from Suffolk University, a Master of Science in Accounting from the University of Notre Dame and is currently completing a Certificate in Innovation and Entrepreneurship from Stanford University.