I beg to ask, what comes to your mind when you hear the word "entrepreneur"? Actually, entrepreneurship is a fast-growing field in Africa today. Many youth are getting into self-employment and this is evident from the numbers that attend entrepreneurship talks, summits and conferences. It's clear that Africa and Kenya in particular, has become a center for innovation and entrepreneurship.
I was recently privileged to sit in as a pitch coach in the warm up to the 2018 Nairobi Innovation Week. This week's activities offered a platform for discovering and showcasing the newest and most promising startups in the region.
We are currently working with 18 startups who are in the e-commerce and business support category, helping them perfect their pitch, which will then culminate in a final pitching contest on 9th March, 2018. The objective is to identify Kenya's 15 most promising startups of the year 2018.
The entrepreneurial spirit sometimes strikes even younger than we expect. It's always impressive to hear stories about young entrepreneurs. Allow me to share some insight and business ideas from these young enthusiastic entrepreneurs:
Store17 - an app that enables users in and around Nairobi to order fresh fruits and vegetables directly from their phone, and have it delivered to their homes or place of convenience.
Loya - Are you looking for legal aid - advice or representation? This is an app that helps you find a lawyer in real time.
E pate Recovery - helps connect people that have lost their personal documents to people who have found them.
Moot - an app that makes everyday shopping more personal and rewarding. People use Moot every day to discover new products, plan shopping trips and earn rewards in stores.
MSheria - an app that insures matatu drivers against traffic offences
eShopper - app that enables shoppers to shop from any of their favorite retail stores from the comfort of their home or office and have the shopping delivered anywhere
These are stories of young budding entrepreneurs in Kenya. I am glad that I decided to be part of the journey, helping provide support and advice in order to help improve their business model.
This has been an incredibly rewarding process of assisting them in the development, growth, and progression of their business ideas.
KEY TAKE OUT
The role of mentorship in entrepreneurship is fundamental. All great entrepreneurs owe some of their success to their trusted coaching support system. There was someone who inspired them, sharpened them and taught them, that is why they stand to be admired today. It is only iron that sharpens iron, so the experiences of the mentors play a key role in shaping the mentees.
The economy is composed of enterprises and businesses. For business to survive, we need pioneer leaders who will adapt to changing times and come up with new ways to produce a product or a solution, and have the ability to constantly evolve to fulfill the demands of the community and the people.
In every business, it is imperative to be industrious and innovative in order to succeed, seeing that we are in a competitive environment.
So if you're passionate about something, don't let anything stop you. It's more than just about being your own boss - it's about taking risks and learning everything there is to achieve your dream.....and get a Coach.
Ann Ichungwa CPA is in charge of the Finance Solutions Department at Wylde International