Africa’s first-generation entrepreneurs struggle to succeed

In 2014, CNN published a list of 10 countries with the highest percentage of adults who were either starting a business or had run it for less than three and a half years. Five of these top countries were in Africa. In fact, they were six in number with Nigeria and Zambia tying in the same position and being counted as one. This is great for Africa, especially when the continent’s population is growing significantly and unemployment is a challenge. 
Also, the most prominent African business brands were born in recent decades, unlike cases of the western world and Asia which have brands that date centuries ago. Africans are, to a large extent, just forming businesses which handled well will register as having stood the test of time, in the future. As of today, many of the entrepreneurs on the continent are building their enterprises on virgin ground. This is a situation of hope and is as pleasing as it is challenging.
Research has indicated that risk-taking, which is the gist of entrepreneurship, is mostly influenced by environmental factors, as opposed to the somewhat popular belief that there is an “entrepreneurship gene” that drives risk-taking and tolerance. Relevant indicators of this were corroborated by research conducted by University of California and National Bureau of Economic Research, Cambridge, between 2013 and 2015. Individuals who had the basics of life assured by strong financial family backgrounds were the most likely to choose the path of entrepreneurship. A lot of businesses are therefore a result of the comfort of a safety net that promoters enjoy from a foundation of an already existing wealth base. Indeed some entrepreneurs even thrive on an extension of family businesses to build their own. Others inherit already existing businesses and build them into better brands than they received from their benefactors.  Continue reading…

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