Everything in Africa is an Opportunity — Strive Masiyiwa

Telecoms entrepreneur and Kwesé TV founder, Strive Masiyiwa is passionate about Africa’s young entrepreneurs succeeding. He has been travelling to different countries on the continent to hold the African Town Hall Meeting Series.

Recently, the Nigerian edition was held in Lagos, where the businessman shared experiences related to his business, personal faith, and belief in Africa’s possibilities.

One of the questions that was fired at him was about his attitude toward the opportunities he missed in the past. “Every entrepreneur is inundated with opportunities, said Masiyiwa.  “I don’t believe in the concept of opportunity knocks once. Opportunities are always at the door. Opportunities are here right now.

“My eyes are always opened to opportunities, but the moment I miss out on something, I have zero regret. I am not a regretful person. I move on to the next one. Everything in Africa is an opportunity. There is an opportunity in every single area.”

Pride can hinder entrepreneurial pursuit

For those who are afraid to start small, Masiyiwa related the story of the late American entrepreneur, Sam Walton, who founded Walmart that is worth billions of dollars today. “Sam Walton built what is technically the largest business in the world. But do you know how he started? He started selling second-hand clothes. That was his entry point. You don’t have to have this concept that I must have lots of money. What makes it difficult for a lot of people is that they have too much pride to start small.”

He added: “The reality is you don’t need a lot of money to start a business. Whatever industry you think you can be in, what you are going to think about is your entry point into that game with what you own. Let’s say, for example, I love to be in aviation but I cannot afford airplanes. Maybe I can start a business cleaning airplanes.”

He told the gathering that his own entry point into the world of business started in Zimbabwe, his home country, many years ago by putting little adverts in the newspaper and fixing driveway and electric gates for people.

Travel around the continent

According to him, most Africans prefer to travel to places like France. While he expressed indifference with this practice, Masiyiwa added that any African entrepreneur that wants to succeed must learn to travel around the different African countries. “There is no way you are going to scale on this continent if you don’t travel,” he said.

Entrepreneurship is like marriage

For Masiyiwa, entrepreneurship can be leveraged to solve the myriads of problems facing the continent, but it must be done from the mind of adding real value not just for survival. “When you set up a business, it is like you are going into marriage,” he said.

“How do we create jobs is the biggest challenge we have on the continent. It is the entrepreneurs who will create the jobs. If we put money in agriculture, it is the easiest way to begin to create jobs. To create wealth, we need to process, we need to create products and brands out of the materials we are producing.”

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Deji Aroloye63 Posts

    a graduate of Linguistics and a staff writer at Outrepreneurs, Deji's forte includes tech, startups and innovations. Years back, Deji wrote on Entertainment and Lifestyle for a tabloid. If he wasn't a writer, Deji would be a photographer or teacher.

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