Taking the big leap into the world of entrepreneurship takes a lot of courage, commitment and determination (guts, brains and heart). And there is, of course, one glaring challenge – getting the funding needed to launch an incredible venture. But it doesn’t have to be difficult, especially with the abundance of opportunities that Africa provides today. While there is a lot of good going on in Africa as a whole, there are still so many areas in desperate need of improvement. These challenges go hand in hand with the opportunity for growth. Interested in finding out more about opportunities in Africa? Then read on.
Africa is a land of possibilities. Here are five areas that you could consider exploring:
If there’s one thing that Africa has a lot of, it’s sunlight (over 300 days of sunshine a year in most parts of Africa). And, as a massive portion of Africa (specifically in the rural areas) is still without electricity, there’s a huge need for reliable and sustainable energy sources.
Apart from the desperate need for it, solar energy also has ample benefits. First off, it’s clean, readily available and free. It’s the perfect option for those in areas with little to no infrastructure. One thing is for sure: the person, people or organisation that can figure out how to bring this phenomenal source of energy to the areas that need it have the opportunity to make an incredible success of it. Read about how others have tackled this challenge in this article.
The amount of goods imported goods to Africa – one of the most fertile and abundant continents in the world – is staggering. According to Smallstarter, “African countries import more than 70 per cent of wheat consumed, over 300,000 tons of chicken and spend more than true0 billion on imported grains, especially rice.” But, with Africa’s potential to provide more than it needs and its aspirations as an exporters, this sector could be a veritable goldmine.
Another largely uncapped or untapped opportunity is providing decent and reliable internet to people in the more rural areas of Africa. And while Google and Facebook are trying to make internet inroads in Africa, there is still a great opportunity for African entrepreneurs to do their part. Need a little inspiration? Take a look at what the entrepreneurs at BRCK were able to accomplish.
One of Africa’s biggest problems is that of poor education. There’s an opportunity for entrepreneurs to explore unique and savvy ways to take on the problem of education (or the lack thereof) in Africa. How could you change the situation? Free online courses to areas with internet access? A project to build schools or create affordable schooling solutions? Have a look at what organisations such as Bridge International Academies and Omega Schools are doing; see if it doesn't spark off some brilliant scholastic idea of your own to help those who want to learn achieve this dream.
Another massive challenge in Africa is providing accessible and high-quality healthcare to people across the continent – especially to those in dire need of it. Satellite or portable clinics and finding ways to incorporate technology to make sure healthcare systems are accessible (like Vula Mobile is doing) are all ideas that can be incorporated into a very powerful business that manages to bring good quality and affordable healthcare to rural areas.
One of the biggest reasons phenomenal business ventures don’t succeed is because of a lack of funding. The good news is that this is certainly a hurdle you can scale, especially with the ample funding opportunities available in Africa from organisations interested in seeing young African entrepreneurs succeed. Here are three of them:
The African Leadership Academy offers the possibility of funding for business founders (of companies that have already been started) as well as a fellowship and entrepreneurial training. However, applicants, have to be between the ages of 15 and 22 and the business can be anything from an invention to an enterprise and in practically any industry. Eligible businesses will be those that show the potential for growth and job creation. In addition, the founders need to show commitment and the ability to be strong leaders.
The She Leads Africa Accelerator (sorry, guys; this one’s for the ladies) is a three-month programme aimed at supporting and funding Africa’s most promising female entrepreneurs (between the ages of 18 and 35) with Nigeria-based businesses (those already up and running) less than three years old. Their preferred industries range from agribusiness to beauty.
This fund which forms part of the Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund (AECF) is centred around the agribusiness and financial industries and businesses still in the conceptual stage that have the potential for a positive impact on uplifting rural areas. The fund offers between USD 250,000 and USD 1,500,000 for an exceptional business idea that qualifies.
Interested in finding out more on how to run your own business? Sign up to our Money Mailer. We’ll explore different ways to fund your startup as well as how to manage your money when it comes in, and much more. We want to help in any way we can to ensure that your business not only takes off, but also thrives.