To fellow young entrepreneurs from Africa.
What would you do differently if you knew you are the hope of the continent? If you knew the economic development of Africa rests or lies on your shoulders, will it change the way you see entrepreneurship?
Will it affect your business plan, your leadership skills, your customer relationship and how you operate your business in general?
I am writing this letter to motivate and inspire you to reach for your best, your very best, in-spite and despite whatever that is happening around you because you are the hope of Africa.
It is true we live in a continent with a reputation for bad leadership, corruption, insensitivity to the cries and pains of her people.
We live in a continent that is known for making policies that favours only a selected few and that few is even the leaders and their families.
It is true we live in a continent with little or no support for young entrepreneurs within its region, a continent in which great ideas are often made objects of mockery, neglected, discarded and forgotten.
That is the reality of the continent we live in. Where mediocrity is celebrated and serious enterprise given little or no attention.
But do not let this deter you from your vision, do not let the negativities around you make you discard that beautiful idea you have conceived in your heart. Hold on to your dreams, hold on to your vision. Even when nobody believes in you.
Being a young entrepreneur in a continent like ours is hard I know. But who says it was meant to be easy. It does not matter how hard life is, what matters is that you held on to your ideas and you never quitted till you see them materialize.
In his success story, we saw how the young Ifeanyi Ubah left school when his parents could no longer pay him and his siblings school fees to pursue his dreams of becoming an entrepreneur.
At the time he made that decision, there was never any physical sign he was going to be successful. In fact, his dad knowing the value of education and what his son will be missing by not completing his education cried and cried.
Today, Ifeanyi Ubah is not only one of the richest billionaires in Africa as a whole, he is also one of the most educated among them. He has broken all the barriers that were against him and has set a path for many young people to follow. No wonder so many young entrepreneurs in Africa look up to him as a mentor.
Should I also tell you the man Tony Elumelu, the chairman United Bank for Africa, TRANSCORP, Heirs Holding and Tony Elumelu Foundation. Also one of the richest billionaires in Africa and a man with a strong passion to see African enterprise rise to the next level.
I mean the man who trains and sponsors over 3,000 young entrepreneurs from all over Africa yearly through the Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Programme TEEP that is organised by his foundation, Tony Elumelu Foundation.
A man who just like most Africans faced a lot of challenges and broke through to be where he is today. A role model for us all.
Let me not even start with the success story of Cletus Ibeto and how he rose from ashes to riches right here in Africa, against all odds including a war that almost claimed his life. A man whose story continues to inspire me to reach for greatness whenever I read it.
I purposely did not want to cite examples from outside the continent. For you to see that if these men being Africans and live in Africa can succeed against all odds, you can succeed as well.
I also would have loved for you read to the read the success story of these 5 Young African Entrepreneurs from Ghana, South Africa, Kenya and other countries who failed several times and yet got back on their feet to become some of the most celebrated names in the continent today.
You may be going through one of the worst moments of your life and business right now, you may be going through a season in which you are about to give up, throw in the towel and quit.
Your workers and partners may have deserted you and it will be justified in your own eyes if you quit now. But don’t.
It is not yet time to quit. It is not yet time to give up. You still have a story to tell, and that is the story of how you succeeded.
So brace up and get going. The world is waiting to hear or read your success story.
If you feel there is something you are not doing well in your business, then do not hesitate to get professional help.
If a mentor is what you need, get one. If you need 2 or more hands to help you, go for it. If you need to apply for grants to grow your business, do it. But by all means do not quit yet.
You are the hope of Africa, your ideas and meaningful contributions in one way or the other can help change the world. Even if it doesn’t change the entire world, as long as it changed a life it is worth it.
Do not wait for the government to actually make the right decisions or policies, do not wait for things to be perfectly fine before you can effect the necessary changes or even step out to start your ideas.
Start with what you have, where you are. Start small, dream big and grow.
Whatever changes you would make if you knew you are the hope of Africa, do it now because in reality young entrepreneurs are Africa’s hope for economic growth.
I hope to write or read about you someday!
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If you have any comment or question as regarding this post. Please feel free to drop it in the comment section below. I will respond to it as soon as I can.