“African entrepreneurs can hardly drive growth,” Joel Chimhanda, the man who has been a business advisor to Aliko Dangote

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Joel Chimhanda is the founder of JC Capital Ltd, a financial advisory business that specializes in advising and partnering entrepreneurial visionaries to realize Sub-Sahara Africa business opportunities. As a business advisor, he has offered business insights to the likes of Africa’s richest business mogul, Aliko Dangote, and African leaders like Jacob Zuma (South Africa) and Prof. Yemi Osinbajo (Vice-President, Nigeria).

Joel Chimhanda was the keynote speaker at the recently held 6th edition of the Innovention Series, an annual event powered by Verdant Seal Group to discuss and proffer solutions to topical challenges crisscrossing the business and technology space in Africa. He gave an electrifying address on the event’s theme “How Technology is Driving Africa’s New Narrative.

Read: Business and Entrepreneurship events for entrepreneurs in March

Speaking on the place of Innovation and entrepreneurship in driving growth in Africa, Joel highlighted infrastructure as the greatest impediment to entrepreneurial growth in the continent. According to him, the African infrastructure is still oppressive and colonial.

“Infrastructure remains the impediment to growth in Africa. The Infrastructure in Africa is still colonial. It is designed to take money out. Every single deal done by the African Development bank is masterminded by an international organization.”

Aliko Dangote

Joel speaking at the event

According to him, presently, African entrepreneurs can only effect very little change as they are themselves hampered by the infrastructural deficiencies in the continent.

“If your cost traction can’t compete globally, you can’t build anything. If you still spend three hours in traffic getting from one place to another, there’s hardly anything you can do. The solution is with government and policy makers.”

It is beguiling how so much is expected of the African entrepreneur while very little is given. The government expects the entrepreneurs to whiz innovation out of a decrepit infrastructural system. In a continent where a government has clamped down the internet access of its citizen for two months running now, where the most ludicrous of public project commissioning takes place, Joel still believes businesses can be built out of the nothing provided.

When quizzed on how to run a successful business in Africa despite these challenges, Joel who has floated several businesses and business deals believes entrepreneurs needs to be practical in their approach to business.

“There is no emotion in running a business, you are either an entrepreneur or you are not”, he said. Taking it further, he equates the processes of building a business with childbirth.

“Building a business is like child-birth and there are certain things that must be put in place to ensure everything is successful. Just as childbirth requires he presence of a midwife, doctor, nurse, etc.

Entrepreneurialism is not something that you make. Entrepreneurs are made. Don’t Imagine you are something that you are not. So if you want to be businessman, why do you want to be businessman if you don’t know what it is and what it means to do business. If you want to run a business now, decide what you want to do in the next ten years, and research, read and learn about it! You can’t be a business man when you don’t have the skill.”

He believes entrepreneurs can still leverage on the growing community of mentors across the continent willing to help them, only if they (the entrepreneur) have done their homework. “There is no shortage of people, who if you have a good idea, you ought to go to and get the support”, he said.

 

happywheels

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

1 Comment

  1. Victor

    March 25, 2017 at 1:59 pm

    Nice piece, I was there and I’m still filled with admiration for Joel.

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