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The East African : April 14th 2014
The EastAfrican 56 Special advertising section EY ENTERPRENEUR OF THE YEAR AWARDS 2013 APRIL 12-18, 2014 The people who make their dreams come true E By CHRISTABEL LIGAMI Special Correspondent nt≥ep≥eneu≥s a≥e the key d≥ive≥s of the economy and tomo≥≥ow’s innovations and a≥e integ≥al to c≥eating a th≥iving economy in East Af≥ica and the wo≥ld ove≥. Cutting ac≥oss ≥eal estate, finance, manufactu≥ing, technology, G≥een technology and ag≥icultu≥e, ent≥ep≥eneu≥s a≥e changing the face of East Af≥ica. Whethe≥ young o≥ middle age, these individuals a≥e solv- ing p≥oblems like healthca≥e and elect≥icity sho≥tages, p≥offe≥ing innovative solutions to waste management, building vi≥tual and physical communities and c≥eating lots of jobs. A few of them a≥e manufactu≥ing the foods we love, and some a≥e developing some cool apps fo≥ mobile phones ac≥oss Kenya. Ent≥ep≥eneu≥s have helped small and medium-sized ente≥p≥ises (SMEs) in many count≥ies to become and ≥emain competitive. Although this fo≥m of business cluste≥ing is not wide sp≥ead, the≥e a≥e signs that its development and ent≥ep≥eneu≥ship e≠ects a≥e g≥adually being conside≥ed. Ent≥ep≥eneu≥s often build thei≥ business f≥om the g≥ound up. Seeing thei≥ business succeed c≥eates an inc≥eased selfconfidence and gives them a st≥onge≥ sense of accomplishment. They a≥e able to give back to thei≥ communities by building symbolic ≥elationships with local businesses and thei≥ owne≥s to inc≥ease job oppo≥tunities and also tend to b≥ing a st≥ong sense of p≥estige and ≥ecognition to thei≥ community. This g≥oup of individuals wo≥ks ha≥d to achieve financial f≥eedom. Thei≥s and thei≥ wo≥ke≥’s sala≥y is based on his/ he≥ e≠o≥ts and not on what an employe≥ o≠e≥s them. Va≥ious small business own- e≥s have been able to build thei≥ business into a secu≥e financial empi≥e. Financial f≥eedom can also be obtained when an ent≥ep≥eneu≥s sells a successful small business. If the wo≥k is no longe≥ beneficial o≥ challenging, they can sell the business, ≥eap these benefits and come up with a complete di≠e≥ent business idea. Howeve≥ successful ent≥e- p≥eneu≥s have the ability of using thei≥ own skills, inte≥ests and c≥eativity to make thei≥ ea≥nings. They do not have an established job desc≥iption and can wo≥k in whateve≥ inte≥ests them the most. Because successful ent≥ep≥e- neu≥s a≥e thei≥ own boss, they don’t wo≥≥y about being laid o≠ o≥ losing thei≥ job. Also if something in thei≥ wo≥k envi≥onment displeases them, they can make adjustments to imp≥ove the ove≥all situation. Although one of the quali- ties of an ent≥ep≥eneu≥ is the ability to tu≥n a vision o≥ d≥eam into a business model, develop a st≥ategic plan and c≥eate the steps that suppo≥t the st≥ategic plan. Ent≥ep≥eneu≥s who have p≥eviously been employed in jobs that limited thei≥ c≥eativity app≥eciate the chance to finally wo≥k in a ≥ole that ≥ewa≥ds thei≥ c≥eativity. Wo≥king fo≥ an ent≥ep≥e- neu≥ means the goals a≥en’t set by the co≥po≥ations, howeve≥ they a≥e instead set by the independent business owne≥s themselves. They’≥e given the oppo≥tunity to do as they please and have no ≥est≥ictions. This omits legal and ethical ≥est≥ictions. The≥e a≥e no gua≥anteed minimum ea≥nings, but the≥e is no ceiling as well. Flexibility isn’t the same as a ≥elaxed app≥oach to job ≥esponsibilities; howeve≥, ent≥ep≥eneu≥s have the ability to wo≥k when they want and fo≥ as long as they want to fu≥the≥ QUALITIES ONE OF THE QUALITIES OF AN ENTREPRENEUR IS THE ABILITY TO TURN A VISION OR DREAM INTO A BUSINESS MODEL, DEVELOP A STRATEGIC PLAN AND CREATE THE STEPS THAT SUPPORT THE STRATEGIC PLAN. thei≥ business goals. In a co≥po≥ate envi≥onment o≥ typical business setting, the ≥ules on when to wo≥k and how fast to wo≥k a≥e gene≥ally set by the company and not the employee. Ent≥ep≥eneu≥ship can of- fe≥ levels of fulfillment and achievement that a≥e ha≥d matched by any othe≥ type of employment. A g≥eat idea teamed with passion and commitment will ce≥tainly help a new ent≥ep≥eneu≥ ove≥come many of the challenges posed by sta≥ting thei≥ own business. To become a successful en- t≥ep≥eneu≥, one has to unde≥go two main stages. The sta≥t-up stage involves a shift towa≥ds using netwo≥ks to gain mo≥e tangible benefits to develop new business ≥elationships. Establishment of t≥ust is c≥ucial at this stage in sha≥ing p≥oblems and solutions. The ≥ole of netwo≥king g≥oups he≥e is to p≥ovide both softe≥ and ha≥de≥ benefits. Du≥ing the second stage (g≥owth stage), the focus fo≥ the ent≥ep≥eneu≥ is on public ≥elations, gaining new investo≥s, supplie≥s, custome≥s and development pa≥tne≥s. Alam Group A good example of an East Af≥ican company that was st≥ated by a man with a vision and a d≥eam to succeed — Abid Alam — is Kali≥o Suga≥ Facto≥y in Uganda, of the Alam G≥oup of Companies. The company was launched in 2013 and has ≥aised the stakes in Uganda’s unde≥ exploited suga≥ indust≥y that has seen a su≥ge in demand ove≥ the past seven yea≥s. Alam G≥oup has also invest- ed in ≥eal estate, steel manufactu≥ing, tou≥ism and the ag≥icultu≥al secto≥. Unlike olde≥ fi≥ms in the indust≥y, Kali≥o Suga≥ sou≥ces all its cane f≥om out g≥owe≥s, a st≥ategy that has o≠e≥ed conside≥able mileage fo≥ local communities eage≥ to inc≥ease ag≥icultu≥al p≥oduction and also deepens social owne≥ship in the ente≥p≥ise. The facto≥y also gene≥ates 12 megawatts of elect≥icity, with seven megawatts supplied to the national g≥id while the balance of five megawatts is consumed by inte≥nal ope≥ations.
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