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Navigating a world as an African Startup

By Zuko Komisa

The emergence of the African start-up over the last ten years has not gone unnoticed. You see it every day, an awakening of black business tailored for a continent with a bright future on the horizon. We can all agree that the next frontier is entrepreneurship, but the questions burning in many aspiring entreprenuers is how do African start-ups succeed and set themselves apart from the world?

Solving a problem.

With Africa having a large part of its population being young people, there is massive potential to build a generation that is obsessed with making this continent a success. We need to find ways to innovate functions we are convinced we are good at through creativity. Innovation always comes from making things that make people’s lives so much easier.

Small Businesses

The rate of unemployment is a major problem across the world, this goes hand in hand with the level of self-sustaining skill set of an affected population. In the future, there is are skills we will have to learn in the continent, skills required in this fast-changing environment we find ourselves in. Skills such as:

Design Thinking: Where you learn to understand and articulate the big picture.

Sensemaking: Being able to understand complex data and apply solutions.

Virtual Collaboration: Cross collaboration with different cultures in the interest of learning a bettering the community.

Social Intelligence: The ability to be fluid in social spaces, having rapport and network.

What is our future?

There have been numerous eras over the years. We’ve seen driverless cars replace normal cars, 3D printing replacing artisans and craftsman, we’ve seen nano-technology replacing aspects of medicine. We can all agree that change is a common thread throughout history, with the fear of change always being an impediment to progress. Throughout history, change has been stifled by the level of fear of the unknown.

Tech

In the year 2018, you need to be conscious of the fact that the next frontier is Artificial Intelligence. We currently have massive volumes of information at our fingertips. In the future, machines are going to be doing work that humans are currently doing, but faster and more proficiently. This will result in humans being forced to adapt to new ways of doing things. That’s where the entrepreneurial spin continues to arise. What is it about your environment, your community that requires innovation that you can profit from? What will make lives easier, what solution can you provide using tech?
So you ask yourself, how do you play in a space where your prosperity is in your hands and you are part of the solution? Here are a few ideas:

  • Have an idea, fine tune it, spend time doing research and simply start.
  • Develop a thick skin, if having a successful start-up was easy everyone would be running a one.
  • Be prepared for criticism and be selective of which you take, not everyone will understand what you are trying to do at first.
  • Build a team of people who are skilled in ways you aren’t. Never be the smartest person in the room.
  • Think years ahead, every decision you make must be informed by what the future ?.
  • Lastly, you need to market yourself, in this digital age, you have multiple avenues to get the word out about the amazing work you are doing.

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