African entrepreneurs can change the world
Most textbooks would agree that Entrepreneurs are crazy people who identify unmet needs in the market and build firms to meet those needs, they take a calculated risk and provide an impetus for social change, innovation and progress in economic life. Entrepreneurs, more than anybody else, have the ability to see opportunities where there is chaos, crises and economic depression. In Africa, more than anywhere else in the world, social ills are abundant and so should be the entrepreneurial ecosystems to solve them.
Today, the term entrepreneur is no longer exclusive to those who have founded their own startups or businesses, it is also broadened to all those who think entrepreneurially including people from non-profit organizations, owner-managers, franchisees, second-generation firm owners and even government officials. Therefore, “an entrepreneur is he who is relentlessly pursuing an opportunity in either a new or existing firm to create value while assuming both the risk and the reward for his or her effort.
How can African entrepreneurs change the world?
Entrepreneurship is an exit strategy from the social ills of unemployment, poverty and inequality. Through entrepreneurship, African entrepreneurs can change the destiny of nations by turning their economies into innovative, competitive and job creation economies. For entrepreneurship to do all this, it needs to be underscored by an entrepreneurial spirit and evidence-based approaches.
Africans already have the close-knowledge about entrepreneurship and the understand its importance, what they now need is open-knowledge and its real application, and for that, we need a new approach on the way we teach entrepreneurship for budding startups who can change the world in the future. We need to talk about Evidence-based entrepreneurship (EBE), We need to talk more about this to create scalable businesses that can contribute to the local innovation ecosystems, We need to put young people into the real experience of being entrepreneurial, the challenges and dynamics of a real business, co-founders dynamics, bootstrapping hustle, and reduce dependence on the theories of people who have never done anything of entrepreneurship. For we to do this we need innovation ecosystems like creatives spaces, open collaboration platforms and inclusive business incubators and massive coworking spaces, these are places where slow hunches of ideas can collide and turn into disruptive ideas. Probably we do not need a Silicon Valley, but ecosystem developers who dedicate their time to studying and developing the local startup ecosystems and connect the dots between the players.
In my humble opinion, the concept of EBE is more discussed in the perspective of bridging the literature that exists on business theories and their application in the real context of a business. By this, I mean that entrepreneurship theories must be translated into principles of actual application in business. We should look at EBE as a strategy that summarizes various business pieces of knowledge, studies and research, methodological approaches outside individual ideas and individual studies alone.
I suggest that meta-analysis should be used to create strategies and concepts and research related to practical entrepreneurship. Then we must convert everything into principles applicable in real business and these principles can be used as components of EBE. All of this should involve scholars in the field, investors, students of entrepreneurship, entrepreneurs themselves and all the startup ecosystem players.
Once applicable principles have been developed, these should be tested in a real business with more evidence of their effectiveness. EBE can change the way we teach entrepreneurship, our entrepreneurship practices and research, and assist in qualitative analysis on entrepreneurship issues.
We already have tons of masterclasses and workshops in entrepreneurship and business, we already know what is lean startup and lean canvas we now need tools, knowledge and evidence-based models to create business models that can survive the first 5 years and scale more.
New applicable frameworks
Probably you don’t need an MBA to become an entrepreneur in Africa and change your community, your country and the world, what you need is a strong startup ecosystem in your surroundings and evidence-based tools for entrepreneurship.
Despite the lack of media exposure, entrepreneurs in Africa are solving real problems and changing the world with evidence-based frameworks like PINT/SIRP
- Issues/ Insights
- Needs/ Resources
- Trends/ Positioning ideas
A basic yet relevant concept is being developed by seasoned entrepreneurs and researchers, the PINT/SIRP model for innovation. The model is simple and pragmatic, it can be used by startup founders, government and support organizations:
Imagine how many problems we have in Africa, from social, economic, governmental, pop culture, cultural, environmental and many more? Imagine the Issues we have, the needs and trends we need to adapt, for a person with an entrepreneurial mindset, all this can be converted into sound business.
Imagine if a company or a ministry has problems with their management, marketing, communication, delivery, or any other type of problems, they can be communicated to ecosystem developers and tons of solutions will be created by disruptive startupers, the same can be done with insights when these organizations have issues, with resources when they have needs and positioning ideas for the latest trends (mainly in technology, for example the booming of e-government ).
This framework is not only easy to use, but it is also straightforward and helps you rely less on the theoretical side of the business and focus more on solving real problems. Most interestingly is the fact that this framework can be used for job-hunting if one embraces it entrepreneurially, because when you scout problems in companies you can then propose solutions and ask for for a job, no company will reject you if you have the solution, the insights, the resources they need and the positioning ideas to help that firm grow.
About the Author
“In times of chaos, crises, and economic depression, entrepreneurs can change the game”
-Ibn Bacar, CEO startupafrica.news
I am a lead investor and creative economist who loves explorering startups and innovation ecosystems. I am an innovation keynote speaker, a business writer who is highly passionate about the African startup ecosystem. I spend most of my time travelling across Africa to find the most exciting startup and creativity projects and investment opportunities.