Success factors for African entrepreneurs

The associate director for Africa at the World Economic Forum, Rueben Coulter, recently posted his thoughts on what successful entrepreneurs do differently from those who fail.

Coulter first observes that entrepreneurs in Africa face unique challenges because they most often exist in a broken system — where poor infrastructure, intermittent power, inaccessible markets, and high-interest loans create steep barriers to success.

The factor that he focuses on to address these challenges: partnerships.

Most entrepreneurs single-mindedly focus on solving a particular problem, however when you work in a broken system then it will require a diverse set of partners to respond."

And in order to build the kind of partnerships that will serve an entrepreneur well, Coulter recommends the following:

  1. Adopt a systems-thinking approach
  2. Build a diverse network
  3. Identify a trusted broker
  4. Invest time upfront in finding the right partners
  5. Innovate your business model
  6. Say ‘no’ 99% of the time

 He closes with a fitting African proverb that I enjoy: If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together.

-- Jay Jakub

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