“Kenya is a hotbed of vibrant culture, spectacular beauty, wonderful people and possibilities”
What comes to your mind when you hear the word entrepreneurship? (please leave you answer down below I would like to hear it ) What comes to mine is the possibility of giving answers to existing problems around us ; problem solving and also providing opportunities to others . To expound, this means looking at the gaps in different elements of our interest or specific industries and trying to fill them in ways that are not yet existing, improving on already operating solutions and last but not least making the society better than we found it. In a developing country such as Kenya, our reasons for being entrepreneurial are quite many. It could be to eradicate poverty, create job opportunities, improve on health care, build infrastructure for faster and effective communication and transport networks, empowering the youth and other marginalized groups etc etc
Last week, I was extremely happy when my good friend from the Sinapis group invited me to attend the pre-global entrepreneurship summit being held at the KICC. It was the was held on the 23rd and 24th of this month right before the main summit which ran from the 24th to 26th graced by the most powerful president in the world Barack Hussein Obama A.K.A POTUS.
Having not attended a forum like this in a while or lets say ever, I was really really excited to be going. I am always happy and open to learning and gaining knowledge from others who have already passed the path that I wish to follow. And from one of Chris Kirubi’s talks at the forum he mentioned that one of the reasons he loves hiring young people and working with them is because they are receptive. So I guess I am on the right path. Right?
This post is specifically to share with all of you most of what I got to hear, learn and internalize at the summit. I hope it resonates with you, informs you and further you could also apply a couple of new things to your business and life as well.
According to Eva Muraya, CEO of BSD Group, imperative characteristics that a entrepreneur should possess are:
- Courage- Be courageous and have the audacity to dream; basically be visionary
- Risk taking-Be capable of calculating risks and taking them if reasonable
- Open to acquiring knowledge and learn from others and our mistakes-Be knowledgeable about your craft
- Good character- Be; honest, of integrity,committed to service, clients, employees and other stakeholders. In essence have a believable personal brand.
- Compassion- Respond to the needs and market with compassion.
When looking for an investor, there are critical questions you must ask yourself as stated by Dr. Chris Kirubi, You must ask if it is worth it and additionally, if it will grow you and take you to greater heights. If it turns out that your answer come up negative it is time to turn down your investor.
Some of the areas he also touched on are as follows:
- Think hard before starting a business, making decisions and involving investors.
- Protect your ideas through registration, patents, getting advice from lawyers and those that are more experienced.Do not wait for the last minute to protect your ideas or even agreements especially when it comes to partnerships. Do it at the initial stage.
- Like the above states knowing and protecting your ideas and partnerships will give clarity to who own what of the company and who doesn’t. it also touches on the % of the profits and such like things. There is a reason why our constitution is very detailed, so do not become a victim just clearly set the boundaries and create functioning structures from the get go. P.S even and most importantly with family and friends. It goes a long way.
- When in need of seed capital or any funding first look to partnering with the people at your disposal. There are so many advantages to that as compared to loans and other sources.
- Women associations and CHAMAS should get smart and use their money wisely. One idea is to invest in others, it is empowering of those closest to us.
After the introduction of what was going to take place through out that day, a briefing about what Sinapis was all about and what they had in store for the day, and speeches by the panellists ( Joe Mucheru, Chris Kirubi, Julian Kyula and Eva Muraya moderated by Lorna Irungu),there was an option to either stick through the Sinapis programme or attend several unique parallel sessions that were available and being facilitated by both local and international investors. Coloured Sugar being considered a start-up in the business world and my sister (who was my date by the way) owning Simply Juice Ltd also a start-up, we decided to go with the most ideal session for us: From start-up to Growing Business: getting Capital to scale.
This being part 1, I do not want to overwhelm you with so much so to find out what my sister and I learnt about entrepreneurship and investors stay tuned for the part 2 of the series.
Until then, blessed week!!!