CHAI MOTO HOTEL: Is the investor perspective out of touch with reality?

VilageA couple of weeks ago I was having a conversation with one of my friends within the entrepreneurship support ecosystem in Nairobi; and he gave me a story that I found fascinating.

Once upon a cup of hot tea..

30 years ago, he was a small boy growing up in a village somewhere around the Meru region in Kenya. His mother used to take him out once in a while to go shopping at the nearby shopping center; so that he could help her carry the shopping back home. During those shopping trips they would get into a nearby local restaurant to have lunch before embarking on their journey back home.

The restaurant was owned by a local business man with its name written on its wall in red capital letters “CHAI MOTO HOTEL”; which when translated to English mean “HOT TEA HOTEL”. My friend grew seeing the restaurant all through his primary and high school life until he left to come to the big city for his university studies. Fast forward, today my friend lives in the big city of Nairobi and he rarely visits his rural home due to his busy schedules. When he does go back home, his time is all spent catching up with his family; and in no time he boards his car and drives back to the city.

Continue reading “CHAI MOTO HOTEL: Is the investor perspective out of touch with reality?”

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Effective Working Capital Management for SMEs -1

Corporate Finance_rszcpdFrom my interaction with many entrepreneurs from across Sub Saharan Africa, cash flow management is one of the leading causes of stunted growth for most SMEs. Most founders assume that they know everything about their businesses; hence they do not see the need of having advanced working capital management tools within their businesses. The results are tragic!

Some of these SMEs have found themselves cash trapped and unable to deliver on their client orders. Failure to deliver on client orders have led to lost goodwill and customers shifting to competitors; and the ultimate staggering of the business as it heads to its downfall.

Continue reading “Effective Working Capital Management for SMEs -1”

The Future of Political Elections — Software Elections???

KEIf we can trust a robot with our lives to conduct a surgery on a patient; then maybe we can trust the same technology to conduct an accurate, FREE, FAIR & CREDIBLE election?

Look, a surgery is a matter of life and death; while an election is not. So if the human race can opt to trust technology with their own lives; why not trust the same technology with systems and processes that are repetitive without any direct attachment to human life?

I am thinking of a situation where an advanced elections software is able to use big data analytics by aggregating various data points from all citizens eligible to vote and making a decision as to who is best suited to be the country’s next president. The process takes the whole electoral cycle (5 years in Kenya), with data being being collected over the whole period. The software then uses advanced algorithms to automatically generate the next holders of political offices at the end of each term.  Continue reading “The Future of Political Elections — Software Elections???”

Growth Entrepreneurship & Structural Transformation in Africa

AfricaEntrepreneurship and economic growth are intertwined as we saw in my article last week on Understanding the Nexus around Entrepreneurship & Economic Growth in Africa. What we did not explore is how entrepreneurship leads to structural transformation in an economy when it is catalyzed over time. In order to achieve structural transformation within an economy, the kind of entrepreneurship needed is what scholars refer to as “growth entrepreneurship“.

Definition of terms

Growth entrepreneurship is entrepreneurship founded on innovation and transformational fundamentals. Growth entrepreneurship is based on identification of profit opportunities within the market; and innovating to either improve on the current solutions, or create new solutions all together. This can be contrasted with subsistence entrepreneurship which is founded on a necessity to fulfil immediate financial needs; and hence lacks a sustainability plan and a scalable business model around it.

Having understood what growth entrepreneurship is; we can now look at what structural transformation means. In the broader context of the economy, structural transformation refers to the reallocation of the three main factors of production to different sectors; in order to ensure that the deserving sectors get their fair share of the scarce factors of production including land, capital & labor. Continue reading “Growth Entrepreneurship & Structural Transformation in Africa”

Understanding the Nexus around Entrepreneurship & Economic Growth in Africa

joao-silas-72562Coming from a premise of factor-driven economies, Africa has not in the past explored extensively the relationship that exists around entrepreneurship, economic growth & structural transformation. However, as I highlighted in my article last week on Fusing Innovation & Entrepreneurship for Economic Growth in Africa; the tide is quickly changing, and now it’s the right time for scholars of entrepreneurship to take a deep dive on this subject matter.

Two schools of thought

Economic growth is interpreted differently by scholars subscribing to different schools of economic thought. Two distinguished economic scholars stand out of the crowd in their different propositions as to what leads to economic growth. They both however agree on the very fundamental measure of economic growth which is an increase in productivity within a given economy. Continue reading “Understanding the Nexus around Entrepreneurship & Economic Growth in Africa”

Fusing innovation & entrepreneurship for economic growth in Africa

woodrow-walden-smallThat Africa is shifting its economic growth model from being commodity based to entrepreneurship driven is a no brainer to policy makers across the continent. Following the fall in commodity prices in 2015 that led to many oil dependent countries slowing down in terms of economic growth; policy makers in most African countries are now looking at alternative models to sustain economic growth within their countries.

The Sustainable Development Goals are also bringing in a new perspective on how Africa can solve its core social-economic challenges. From being factor-driven economies, African countries are now transitioning into being efficiency-driven economies; before we can ultimately get into the ideal and most preferred innovation-driven economies status. Continue reading “Fusing innovation & entrepreneurship for economic growth in Africa”

The Art of Business Story Telling for Small Businesses

Jay 2In a world where the consumer is spoilt of choice from increasing number of substitutes; businesses are spending a huge percentage of their budgets in marketing and public relations, in order to remain relevant in a progressively competitive and dynamic global market. Globally, the advertising market is estimated to be worth about USD 500 billion annually; and the figure keeps growing each year as more businesses and products get created. The growing spend in marketing is driven by the need for businesses to tell their stories in a clear, attractive and convincing manner to their potential customers, strategic partners and investors. And this is not an option; rather t is a necessity if you are to survive amidst the thickening competition in the market.

What makes the fairy tales interesting and memorable is the same thing that makes business stories exciting and worth listening to. In business storytelling, you will need to master five key principles that will help you to communicate about your brand, products or services better. Continue reading “The Art of Business Story Telling for Small Businesses”