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Entrepreneurship Advice From Top Women-Entrepreneurs In Africa

Learn the ropes well….

“Believe in yourself. Know you can do it, learn the ropes of your business. You need it to succeed. Be dogged and consistent.”

Adetutu Adekunle is the founder & CEO of Bibi’s Grillhouse and Bibi’s Cottage Catering in Nigeria. Before launching her business ventures she earned two degrees in Biochemistry and Environmental Management from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria and the University of Surrey, UK. The catering company offers customized catering services for social and corporate events, schools and bulk orders for home use. The restaurant, located in a mall in the city of Lagos, focuses on Nigerian specialties, offering innovative cuisine intertwined with barbeque and grilled treats.

 

“… the needle I am constantly attempting to thread: building exciting brands around our unique cultures, brands that become ubiquitous and impactful.”

Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu is the founder and Managing Director of soleRebels, the world’s fastest-growing African footwear brand and the only Fair Trade-certified footwear company in the world. Growing up in a poor suburb of Addis Ababa, Bethlehem decided that there was only one way to defeat poverty – use local craftsmanship to make products that can compete in the global marketplace. She decided on footwear and today 70,000 pairs of shoes leave her factory every year. SoleRebels has been expanding rapidly and today exports to no fewer than 45 countries. Bethlehem has also launched ‘The Republic of Leather’, designing sustainable, luxury leather goods, and ‘Garden of Coffee’ retail outlets to promote Ethiopian coffees.

 

“Just knowing that other people are in your situation and are making it through is great support. I think that this is how you build out the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Africa, one person at a time supporting others.”

Rebecca Enonchong is a Cameroonian born technology entrepreneur and the founder and CEO of AppsTech, a global provider of enterprise application solutions serving clients in more than 50 countries. She is also a Founding Board Member of the African Business Angel Network (ABAN). Rebecca is also a mentor and advisor to several Africa-based technology start-ups and sits on the board of VC4Africa, an online community dedicated to entrepreneurs and investors building companies in Africa.

It’s often best for entrepreneurs to learn by doing….

“I think you have got to learn by doing. You may not have all the answers, you may not know the size of the market, you may not know how much the competition is selling. But if you get into the business, do your initial groundwork as much as you can – but get in there and then start gathering your own data.” 

– Monica Musonda is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Java Foods, a food processing company based in Zambia. Monica’s vision is to revolutionize the eating habits of the youth market by offering them affordable and nutritious food options made from local products. Monica is a dual-qualified English solicitor and Zambian advocate with over 15 years of experience in legal practice and corporate management, including being corporate counsel at the International Finance Corporation and for Aliko Dangote. Forbes Magazine and Africa Investor named her as one of the leading Young Power Women in Business in Africa in 2013 and 2014 respectively.

 

“A lot of questions will come up about how you make money. But if you focus on creating a quality product that people will use to solve real-life challenges, there will always be opportunities to monetize your solution.”

– Brenda Katwesigye is a tech entrepreneur with a passion for making a difference in Uganda’s health sector by harnessing her considerable telecommunications skills. Her company, Wazi Vision, has developed a new mobile app to provide simpler, cheaper diagnoses and more affordable eyeglasses to every school-going child between the ages of 6-18 years.

 

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