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How to support and learn from
rural African entrepreneurs?

It seems a different life since the last time I wrote. After reading many blogs telling how to react to the pandemic crisis, I felt the need to investigate what can be done specifically for entrepreneurship in Africa. So now I’m sharing my findings. Also, it might be an opportunity for you to contribute as a mentor of a Kenyan entrepreneur. Feel free to send the offer to someone who looks for ways to develop his or her skills to guide/manage/coach others.

Dear entrepreneurs,

A few months ago, I went on an entrepreneurial quest and cycled through 4 African countries within 8 weeks to get a profound understanding of what it takes to become or grow as a successful impact entrepreneur in Africa. I learned about Africa’s huge potential for growth, the key challenge of organizing efficient last mile distribution and more (my Big 5 Insights mentioned before). It feels like a different era now, with economies worldwide and especially in Africa being hit by the pandemic. However, the potential is still there and the need to stay connected to unlock that potential is even higher.

I have been thinking about the many ‘big and small’ entrepreneurs I’ve met during my quest by bike. Knowing that back-ups are not so accessible to them as provided in countries such as The Netherlands. There is a huge withdrawal of investment money from emerging markets (EUR 75 billion in March alone) and due the economic standstill people lost their income all of a sudden.

A big question for me has been how to support entrepreneurs in Africa to survive this challenging phase. I came to these 3 conclusions:

1. Learning with and from each other is powerful

We did a webinar with 60 CEO’s of established companies from emerging markets in agriculture to create joint platforms for learnings. Discussing smart immediate responses and long-term rethinking of the business.

2. Support is needed now

With Ecom we were able to distribute 1.2 million pieces of soap to our farmer communities in Ghana from our wish to put our farmers first and hoping better hygiene would help to stop Covid-19 spreading in the rural areas and keep the local economy going.

3. Diversity enhances learning

Together with Erik-Jan Rijnierse and YGAP (Carol Kimari and Albert Kimani) we initiated an online session ‘supporting the supporters’: to find out what professional supporters in Africa need to do to help local entrepreneurs survive. It helped a great deal to involve Dutch people (entrepreneurs and a bank manager) in the session: different questions and experiences led to richer insights.

Dear readers and entrepreneurs: you could support/mentor and learn from rural African entrepreneurs as well.

We learned a lot from working with all of these people and enjoyed the eagerness the local smaller entrepreneurs have to learn. We may safely assume you would as well.

So, we have an idea for you: ‘the entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs’ workshop series (E4E).
What if we build connections to unlock the potential that is still there? E4E is the first step. You can mentor smaller, local entrepreneurs in Kenya and help them rethink their company. It will be designed as a 2-way street, making it the best mirror for you to learn how to guide others and find new opportunities yourself. We work together with YGAP, the ones responsible for catering a business school to promising entrepreneurs. We want to support them and you to grow.

Click on the button below to find for more information about how you can contribute and learn. The workshop series starts end of June. The time for solidarity is now. All we need is your learning mindset as we know our participating Kenyan entrepreneurs have.

Will you join our quest? Follow our stories if you want to know more about our (BIG 5) insights and activities: you can subscribe below. Feel free to leave comments and let us know what you think.

Please note that you will receive an email to confirm and be aware it might end up in your unwanted mailbox the first time.

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