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Why Africa faces an era of entrepreneurship

The world of tomorrow cannot do without Africa. Its population will triple to 4 billion people and represent over 36% of our earth’s population in this century. This young population offers many opportunities for growth. New markets will rise and African products will find international shelves. Today 3 out of 190 unicorns (companies that reach a $1 billion dollar market value) are based in Africa. This will be much more. The era of entrepreneurship in Africa will come.

It seems unimaginable that the African continent is going to lead us. But I am convinced it will.

When I worked at the bank in the late 90s, I encountered something called Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). I started working in this field. My colleagues said that this was no real career step for me as I was just going to spend money and not earn. At that time there were about 20 people active in CSR in the Netherlands: I knew them all… Nowadays it is impossible to know everyone. CSR has become a huge work field all over the world, including the Netherlands.

Mid 00s I was intrigued by social entrepreneurship. My favourite quote back then was from Michael Porter: "How to put social issues into business opportunities.". The company I co-owned, Better Future, was one of the first social enterprises around. We faced a lot of scepticism at first. It was said to be an impossible model for MNC's. This is changing: I notice social entrepreneurship becoming more and more mainstream in the last decade. See for example the fast-growing movement of B-Corps: there are 2500 certified B Corps in 50 countries and this number is increasing fast. MNCs like Danone and DSM are joining too!

After seeing CSR and social entrepreneurship grow, I am sure Africa’s Betterpreneurship is the next in line that I can witness growing fast. Africa will have the biggest and youngest labour force, a huge customer outlet, growth in service industries, green lungs, and a huge trade zone. The mindset is already changing. And like Mandela said:

"It always seems impossible until it gets done."

During our Quest by bike we could see many possibilities for new scale-ups and how we, at Betterpreneurs, could enable their growth more. My good friend Berber Hania, who joined the Quest from Uganda to Kenya, captured it in this movie:

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