Jaco Maritz, publisher of How we made it in Africa, was recently interviewed live on air by Michael Avery, the anchor of Classic Business – a finance show broadcast on Classic 1027 – regarding the recently published HOW WE MADE IT IN AFRICA: THE BOOK.
The pair discussed the book, and touched on a few of the stories therein, with regards to lessons the entrepreneurs learnt over the years. For instance, Maritz highlights Ken Njoroge, CEO and co-founder of Cellulant, the pan-African digital payments company, and how Njoroge believes it is important to put the ‘why’ of the business at the forefront of every decision made. The ‘why’ for Njoroge and his partner is to build a billion-dollar business to dispel the myth that Africans can’t do anything for themselves. That goal remains the driver behind every decision the partners make today.
Another lesson mentioned was from Rwandan entrepreneur Jean de Dieu Kagabo, the founder of Soft Packaging. He says entrepreneurs should have a laser-like focus on perfecting one offering of their business before expanding to other services or products. Kagabo started out manufacturing toilet paper in Rwanda, but made the mistake of introducing detergents not long after founding the company – before the toilet paper business could stand on its own feet. While the detergents sold well, the high cost of raw materials meant that his original toilet paper business suffered. He eventually abandoned the detergent arm, but the damage was done.
You can listen to the full interview below.
How we made it in Africa: The book tells the stories of 25 entrepreneurs who've built thriving businesses. The ebook launched on 15 October 2018.