There is always a lesson to learn when we read the success stories of people who have achieved certain heights in life. Especially the stories of those who have faced challenges we go through everyday and have been victorious.
From how they were able to raise startup capital for their business to the principles that made their business successful, including their style of leadership and management. Entrepreneurs success stories are always means of learning their success secrets.
Apart from the lessons we from these success stories, we are also inspired just by reading them to never give up on our goals and dreams even when they seem impossible to achieve.
In this post today, I will be sharing with you inspiring success stories of top 5 African entrepreneurs. Including young entrepreneurs.
I have handpicked these inspirational stories to motivate you to hold on to your dreams regardless of what you are going through right now and to use the life lessons you will learn in these success stories to improve your business and take it to a greater height.
CHRIS KIRUBI – KENYA
Chris Kirubi is an entrepreneur from the East African nation, Kenya. Like several people in most African nations, Chris was born in a very poor home.
After losing his parents at an early age, young Chris Kirubi had to work hard to shoulder the responsibilities of his family.
This was one major thing that helped develop and built strong leadership character in him. No wonder he went on to become one of the most successful young entrepreneurs not only in Kenya but also in Africa as a whole.
Like every successful entrepreneur out there, Chris Kirubi’s success story will not be complete without making mention of the failures he experienced while trying to establish his business empire.
In his first business which he started from his personal savings (You can find out more about how to raise money to start your business apart from personal savings here), Chris had his own share of failure.
He went into the painting industry with the mindset that everything will go well for him in business as long as he produced good paint. Little did he know that there is more to business than just your products. A vital lesson he learnt the hard way.
After starting his paint business, Chris Kirubi began to see some level of success. This made his competitors who were also producers and major paint distributors envious of him and went ahead to make sure that by all means Chris and his new company will be out of business.
One major way they did this was to present Chris’ products in a very bad light and discouraged big contractors from purchasing them.
Every good businessman reading this will agree with me that once your products are not been sold in large quantities, it wouldn’t take long before your business will fold up. Goods are produced with the intention to be sold, not just to be stored in warehouses. (Let’s go back to the story)
Other big contractors who bought Chris Kirubi’s paint did that on credit and refused to pay him even they promised they will within a very short time.
At this point, I want you to know as a young entrepreneur that nothing kills a new business faster than selling on credit. Do not make the mistake of thinking people will always keep their word and pay you your money after they have your goods in their possession.
Even when they are sincere and willing to pay you as they promised, anything can happen to make them fail. Ensure you have your money in your hand before releasing your goods to them. Most especially when the buyers are family and friends. (Back to the story)
When the money was not forth coming and huge debts have been accumulated, Chris Kirubi was forced to shut down the business.
However he did not let this failure stop him from trying out other business opportunities. He picked up himself and used the lessons he learnt from his first business to go on to create one of the most successful business in Kenya today.
KATE QUARTEY-PAPAFIO – GHANA
Kate Quartey-Papafio is one of Africa’s finest female entrepreneurs. She is the founder and CEO of Reroy Cables Limited, manufacturers of electrical cables in the popular African nation, Ghana.
Apart from electrical cables, the company also manufactures telecom cables and conductors mostly for international markets. Though they have some level of domestic influence.
In 2003, Kate started the company in a very small way and began exporting her products to countries within the ECOWAS region.
It is important as a young entrepreneur you learn how to start small and grow your business. One of the commonest reasons so many business ideas always end up not coming to materialization is the fact that the people with their ideas were waiting for everything to be ready before starting.
It doesn’t matter how small the money you have in your hand right now, start taking bold steps towards bringing those business ideas to reality.
Start small but have big dreams. That is one of the striking qualities of most successful entrepreneurs. They were willing to start small.
Today the company (Kate Quartey-Papafio’s) has seen much growth to the point it now has over 100 workforce and has recently completed the building of a new Manufacturing Plant. A feat which has made it the largest Electrical Cables Manufacturing company in Ghana.
FELICIA MABUZA-SUTTLE – SOUTH AFRICA
Widely known and regarded as South Africa’s Oprah Winfrey, Felicia Mabuza-Suttle is an extraordinary female entrepreneur.
Born in Sophiatown into an entrepreneurial family, Felicia learnt a lot about business during her early stage. I so much believe this was one of the major reasons she grew up to become one of the biggest female entrepreneurs in South Africa.
Here is my personal note to every parent and entrepreneur reading this: What you teach your children concerning money, hardwork, leadership and business in general is very important.
We live in a world where parents exclude their children totally from anything business until it is almost too late. This shouldn’t be, as the first real teacher a child encounters in his journey of life is the parent.
If you study carefully Robert Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad Poor Dad, you will find out that part of the reason he (Robert Kiyosaki) went on to become one of the richest billionaires in the world was due to what he learnt from his dad. His Rich Dad though. (Back to Felicia Mabuza-Suttle success story).
After her university days in America, Felicia entered the Television industry and worked her way up to an executive position at the Houston Public Television.
In 1994 she returned to South Africa where she started her TV show “The Felicia Show” on SABC. She later became the executive producer of the Africa Channel.
Not long from then she became a founding member and non-executive director Pamodzi Investment Holdings Limited.
Felicia also has a modern restaurant that she started in the SA. She is also today one of South Africa’s best selling author.
ANDREW RUGASIRA – UGANDA
Andrew Rugasira is the founder and CEO Good African Coffee, the author A Good African Story: How A Small Company Built A Global Brand and one of Uganda’s most successful entrepreneurs.
As a matter of fact, you can never tell Ugandan entrepreneurs success stories without mentioning his name.
Born and bred in Uganda, Mr. Rugasira started one of the most successful agribusinesses in the country, a coffee production business.
Speaking on the challenges he faced while starting the business, Andrew explains how he struggled to raise startup capital. A common experience of most African entrepreneurs.
His business success has led to so many recognitions and honours from within and outside Uganda. Few of them includes:
- The African Vision Award (2005)
- Coffee Entrepreneur Of The Year (2006)
- Business Personality Of The Year (2006)
- Ugandan Entrepreneur Of The Year (2007)
- The Legatum Pioneers For Prosperity Award (2007) and so many others.
- INNOSON CHUKWUMA – NIGERIA
African entrepreneurs success stories will never be complete without the mention of the story of the man who successfully established the first motor manufacturing plant in Nigeria, Innoson Chukwuma.
Born and bred in Nigeria, Mr. Innoson Chukwuma is a role model not only to young entrepreneurs in Nigeria but also in Africa as a whole. Having successfully faced the difficulties most young entrepreneurs faces.
His company stretches into other sectors such as plastics manufacturing and ICT. Innoson company has provided jobs to numerous of young Nigerians and still do.
One of Africa’s richest billionaires, Innoson Chukwuma’s business techniques is certainly worth emulating.
In summary, looking at the lives and success stories of these widely recognized and celebrated entrepreneurs we can get tips that can help shape and boost our own businesses in no small way.
Apart from this, if you are facing some level of discouragement and need a little inspiration to help you get back to your feet after a bad day at work or in your business, the above success stories should do that for you.
I hope to write about you someday!
Thanks for reading!
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