4 bizarre business opportunities in Africa

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Africa is a continent with many peculiarities. From the people, down to the demography, the continent has always had something amazing up its sleeves. Now with amazingly strange business opportunities springing up in the region, the continent sure is laden with many unexplored sides. Through the business realities of some African entrepreneurs, one quickly gets the idea that an idea could be anywhere.

The savvy African entrepreneur knows that finding a real need or problem usually always precedes a brilliant and or unusual business idea. And a brilliant idea sustains itself creating a positive impact in the community.

In the quest to seek out African entrepreneurs with great businesses or ideas, we have discovered quite a few successful business realities that are totally astounding. These business realities involve making money from maggots, floating a business with less than $100, business from urine, and trash!

Unbelievable, right? Well, find out for yourself…

Maggots Can Make You a Millionaire

Bizarre business opportunitiesPhoto credit: Раиса йапарис

As an entrepreneur, you need to envision what the meaning of the phrase in this context means. Maggots = something not usually thought to be a money-maker or can literally mean maggots, the squirmy worms that eventually metamorphose into flying insects. However, in South Africa, a young entrepreneur is generating millions through his maggot harvesting business. Also, here, we see some entrepreneurs who were using “bugs” to put nutrition on the plates of thousands of households. Many businesses can self-sustain by simply collecting the Chitoumou, the local Burkinabe name for Shea caterpillar, drying it and feeding it to their chickens. Other businesses domesticate maggots as a business.

Maggots can offer a lot of value. First, they feed off organic waste which is much cheaper than regular animal feed, which you’d otherwise feed domesticated maggots. Second, they produce a nutrient-rich fertilizer that can be sold or used. And finally, maggots are harvested and ground to make a maggot-based animal feed that is not only significantly cheaper than other options but is also much higher in nutrition.

You can start a business with $100 – or less

Egyptian entrepreneur in his weaving business

Egyptian entrepreneur in his weaving business

Photo credit: World Bank

In Africa, like in other parts of the world, there is a myth that you cannot start a business without sufficient capital (besides starting a maggot farm). Or with low capital, it will take years to beat the odds and maximize your success. However, that’s not what some African entrepreneurs have found out, like the Egyptian craftsman and entrepreneur pictured above. In fact, some have started businesses from zero and have grown to incredible heights.

With businesses that tap into the power of the sun to revolutionize water and home heaters, some entrepreneurs are making millions. Others are providing services that require only their time and dedication, thus allowing them to start with no or very little capital. Still others are breaking barriers and using the internet to market great business ideas and make money, all the while keeping overhead costs very low. While it may be difficult and require serious skill to be a successful entrepreneur with very small means, it is possible, just check the business realities of these 5 African entrepreneurs who have done it!

 Urine Can Power Your Home

UrinePhoto credit: Erik (HASH) Hersman

While much of the continent, especially rural communities, struggles to have electricity in homes and businesses, some entrepreneurs are finding different ways to generate electricity through unbelievable ways. In fact, a group of girls in Nigeria designed and built a way to generate 6 hours of electricity from 1 liter of urine. Extraordinary! The process requires a few steps that include separating the usable gases from the unusable liquids, and using the gas to power a generator. While many argue of the adverse effects to the environment when thinking of new ways to generate power, others are thinking of uncharted ways to use readily available, environmental-friendly resources.

Trash is Money

TrashPhoto credit: Mary Anne Enriquez

Pollution is a problem in every part of the world. Populations continue to grow, as does pollution and the health and environmental issues caused by this epidemic. Smart business leaders are finding ways to make money from the multi-billion dollar trash industry. This is where African entrepreneurs can see money-making potential. Uncollected trash is everywhere, and more often than not, it is not recycled. Savy entrepreneurs find ways to make new products by breaking down and reprocessing recycled trash. Buried trash can eventually turn into a collectable and usable gas. There are ways to make money from trash and entrepreneurs in Africa are finding this out and supporting whole families. SmallStarter blog shares the stories of 5 entrepreneurs who have successfully sustained themselves in the trash business.


Source : African Entrepreneurship Award


I'm interested in stories, news and opportunities for African entrepreneurs. Be it tech, fashion, SMEs; breaking entrepreneurship stories is the next best thing that can happen to me, after Jollof

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