“The man who helped me built Econet Wireless”- Strive Masiyiwa on the importance of partnership in business

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For many who have been keenly following the African entrepreneurship scene, Strive Masiyiwa wouldn’t be a new name. The Zimbabwean business mogul is a beacon of direction for many aspiring entrepreneurs on the continent. His Facebook page, where he regularly shares business insights is a testament to this. In one of his recent post, the founder of Econet Wireless; the first private telecom company in Zimbabwe and also the first private telecommunication outfit to operate in Nigeria, speaks on the importance of leveraging partnership to grow a business. He drew example from his personal experience building Econet Wireless. Read his post below:

building a business

One of the ways you strengthen your business is to look for opportunities to partner with the best in your game. You’re never too big or too small to look for partners that will fit your needs. When you partner with the best, you learn to improve your business dramatically. In the best partnerships, they win, and you win, too.

Finding a “game changer” for your business through partnerships is extremely important. This is an ongoing process for me. I’ve always looked for opportunities to partner with those who can help give me access to technology, business systems, intellectual property (IP), and general know-how for my people.

Let me give you some examples: When I started Econet Wireless, I was approached by one of the largest telecom companies in the world which wanted to buy a stake in my company. Sitting over dinner one evening, the Vice President of the company asked me what was my vision for the business.

I told him passionately that I wanted to run the business myself, and build it as an African-owned company. A deeply compassionate man, who has become a lifelong friend, Jim Myers (an American from Texas) said, “We can help you achieve that, and it really makes no difference to us if we don’t own a stake your business. We’ll find lots of other opportunities.”

“Really? You would do that for me?!”

“Why not? I’m happy to help you in any way I can.”

He agreed to let me go to the US and spend a few days looking around their business. Later he agreed to send some people to visit us. Whenever I needed some help, I would call Jim.

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He made introductions for me, and gave me access to people and places I could not have imagined. He did it all for nothing! Years later when he retired, he agreed to serve on one of my boards, just to impart his experience and knowledge… all for nothing.

You might not have noticed it, but as much as there are some bad people out there, there are also some really nice people out there, too!

“Finding a “game changer” for your business through partnerships is extremely important.”

It’s not just about trying to get investors. It’s also about finding unique products and services that can enhance your business and make it more competitive. You don’t have to invent everything yourself.

Here are two more examples, this time with Kwesé TV:

The National Basketball Association (NBA) recently announced that they’re sending two teams to play basketball in Africa in August. If you’re a basketball fan, you’ll know that it doesn’t get bigger than that!

The NBA is a $9bn revenue organization! That”s an absolute behemoth. And yet they are keen to develop this great sport in Africa!

We already show all the NBA games live on Kwesé Sport. We also have a 24-hour basketball channel.

# Finding a “game changer” for your business through partnerships is extremely important.

If you ever find yourself facing an 800-pound gorilla, it makes sense to find a bigger gorilla to stand with you!

What stage are you in your business? Have you started putting together your own “dream team”?
How to Raise money from Investors to build a Billion Dollar company- Strive masiyiwa







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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