Thinking Big

Aug 11, 2015 | | Say something

In most African countries there is a growing number of people starting their own businesses. One fact that remains true across the continent, however, is that most businesses remain at the microscopic level.

My experience in China, at least for the last few years, is that scale is considered very early at the stage of a venture. Young Chinese graduate who launch their startup have a strong focus on increasing quickly the numbers of visitors to their websites/users of their products/revenues in order to take their company to the next level, whether by expanding or achieving higher valuation when bringing in investors.

Many African businessman however seem content when the business becomes profitable and can sustain their families, and provide a lifestyle that is beyond their pairs. But instead of one shop, why not think about a chain, growing to 10, 100, expand overseas?

Of course, there are some exceptions. But the truth is most African private businesses are not and do not seem on the way to make it to what would be considered a medium size company per international standards. And without sufficient size and scale, competition with state owned companies as well as foreign owned firms and multinationals is lost in the starting blocks.

Education and funding are the usual scapegoats. I think it is more than that. It is about mindset. Unless we start to really believe that we can grow world-class companies true entrepreneurial success will remain a dream for most.

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