Startups! growth stimulating key elements

  • May 10, 2017

“He that will not apply new remedies must expect new evils; for time is the greatest innovator” – Francis Bacon.

These golden words vocalized by Francis Bacon, a renowned English philosopher, are indeed important to illustrate the significance of innovation. Innovation marks the beginning of a new success tale. It is the initial stage, which acts as a base of a successfully accomplished project/model. Without innovation, the current modernized world, enriched with technological advancements couldn’t have been imagined. More than innovation, the urge and craving to innovate is necessary.

Startups are the new drivers of economic prosperity in the present day world. A startup could be called as a young company, which is at the initial stage of development. These are usually small scale and are funded by its founders. Startup companies usually vows to offer products and services which are currently not being offered elsewhere or which are being offered in an inferior manner, hence having a scope of improvement and subsequently providing superior and better products and services.

In the initial stages of their operations, the expenses of startup companies usually exceed their revenues. Generally, startups are funded by traditional small business loans from banks or credit unions, by government-sponsored Small Business Administration loans from local banks, or by grants from non-profit organizations and state governments. A startup usually begins with an individual or a group of members who come up with an idea which they think could fulfill needs and some specific requirement of people. The idea is then consolidated into model of the service or product which is to be offered and is called as a prototype. The prototype is then used to secure funds. The success rate of a startup depends upon the size of the customer base. The customer base not only needs to be large, but it should also make use of the services regularly.

Startup companies are the primary source of job creation in any economy, with the potential to uplift the economic growth rate. Not only that, but these firms also contribute to economic dynamism by creating a competitive environment into markets and stimulating innovation.

Significance

Policymakers often think of small business as the employment driving engine of the economy. But when it comes to jobcreating ability and power, it is not the size of the business that matters as much as it is the age. Startup companies are the primary source of job creation in any economy, with the potential to uplift the economic growth rate. Not only that, but these firms also contribute to economic dynamism by creating a competitive environment into markets and stimulating innovation. When it comes to startups, a frequent perception about it is that it needs to be established in a developed country where all the resources are available abundantly to facilitate smooth operations. But this general and stereotypical perception fails to perceive an important aspect which advocates that startups can begin anywhere, and it’s often the countries with the greatest needs that provide biggest opportunities. Startups have an endless scope and could be successfully launched in the underdeveloped countries, nations in conflict, and those countries new to entrepreneurship. Each of these environments offer untapped problems which startups can take advantage of not just to make a profit, but also to make an impact and most importantly, startups can address these problems and could gain the confidence of the local governments.

It’s time for Africa!

African continent provide 54 individual markets. It is enriched with natural as well as human resources. It provides opportunities for all kind of startups. But Africa is classified as a poor continent. How can it be possible? Everywhere you look, there are opportunities to make money that do not even exist or are easily overlooked in other parts of the world. However, it’s still shocking how many people are blind to the glitter of goldmine of opportunities in Africa, including Africans themselves. Fortunately, the number of entrepreneurs are growing rapidly who are already exploiting the lucrative business opportunities on the continent. The key to their success is that they see things quite differently from the rest of us. Let us have a look at some of the inspiring startup stories in Africa.

Africa Felix Juice

A Sierra Leone based company, Felix Juice is one of the continent’s leading fruit juice concentrates manufacturing companies. Africa is one of the biggest producers of fruits in the world. But a large portion of its fruits gets wasted and rot away because of the poor storing techniques and inadequate storage capacities. Many African countries despite of producing fruits in abundance have to import the fruit concentrates. Let us take an example of Nigeria who produces oranges in huge quantities, still it spends over 140 million USD to import orange concentrates to support its fruit juice industry. This West African company manufactures concentrates from mangos and pineapples. Company buy fruits from more than 4000 small farmers and produces concentrates out of them in a food processing facility. They not only help to sort the crisis of fruit concentrates, but also help farmers by giving them a market for their produces. The company’s mango and pineapple juice concentrates are mainly exported to Europe where they are used to make fruit juices and flavorings for the food industry.

Giraffe– South Africa

Giraffe is a mobile recruitment platform that works to transform the process of finding employment for job seekers in South Africa by linking them with relevant opportunities. It also assists the employers in recruiting the most suitable and appropriate candidate, quickly and at a low cost, hence making the whole process a cost- effective one. The process starts with the submission of a request on the website by the employers wishing to recruit staff. The platform then identifies suitable candidates, contacts them by SMS and schedules interviews at a suitable time and place. With over 70,000 registered users, Giraffe is undoubtedly one of the fastest growing tech companies in South Africa. The startup was crowned the 2016 global winner at the Seedstars World Summit, walking away with the grand prize of $500,000.

Mawingu– Kenya

Technology is doing wonders in developing economies and transforming lives across the globe. But the other side of the coin is that there are close to 4 billion people in the world who still have no access to the internet, and thus miss out on the opportunities that come with connectivity. In Kenya, Mawingu is stressing on changing this appalling reality faced by the rural population. The company, whose name means “cloud” in Swahili, is bringing connectivity to rural communities in the East African country. Its solar-powered WiFi routers connect villages to a readily accessible, yet mostly under-utilised, wireless internet signal known as “TV white space”. Schools, libraries, clinics, and young entrepreneurs are all benefiting from Mawingu’s innovative idea. This initiative indeed is catching the attention of millions across the globe.

MeQasa– Ghana

Looking for a suitable accommodation in Ghana used to be a quest, until real estate platform meQasa arrived onto the scene in 2013. meQasa has significantly improved the real estate sector in Ghana by providing a free service that helps property seekers, brokers and landlords conduct business efficiently online. The startup made headlines in 2015 when it secured an investment of $500,000 from Frontier Digital Ventures, a Malaysian-based global venture capital firm. MeQasa promised to use the funding to elevate its mobile and web services and eventually expand to other African countries. In under three years, the company has seen remarkable growth, featuring nearly 18,000 property listings. In 2016, meQasa was nominated for several of awards for the strides it has made in making finding property in Ghana an easy nut to crack.

Dr CADx- Zimbabwe

A Zimbabwean startup founded in 2016 is developing a computer-aided diagnostic system to help doctors diagnose medical images more accurately, and to provide pervasive radiology diagnostics in regions which currently do not have radiologists.

This solution is designed to be used by medical professionals on existing computers and tablets. Dr CADx is able to diagnose most diseases but the startup’s initial focus is on lung diseases such as tuberculosis, pneumonia and lung cancer, as well as head injuries and breast cancer. Dr CADx was named winner of the Zimbabwean edition of Seedstars World.

Why Africa?

These success stores are sufficient enough to illustrate the importance The African continent is witnessing a digital and social renaissance and experiencing a decade of consistently increasing economic growth, where the middle class population is also increasing and IT infrastructure is much more developed and readily available than what it used to be only five years ago. One of the biggest phenomena that is occurring is the technology startup boom that is projecting a promising future for African entrepreneurs, as they keep receiving funds from international investments that are continuously showing interest for more. Investors and corporates believe that Africa might be the next biggest startup hub, and this is something that is becoming more of a reality each passing day, with three industries that are leading the activity and trends, such as e-commerce, mobile and education technology. The rapid evolution for startups in Africa is mostly attributed to the widespread expansion of the mobile and internet market throughout the entire continent and this is something big that international companies, investors and universities are keeping a track of. Africa currently has the population of more than 1.2 billion, which is growing rapidly. Subsequently, in the coming years the workforce would also be bigger. Workforce is an important source for the developing economies. Out of the world’s 12 fast growing countries, six of them are from Africa. Which indeed means that if appropriate methods are adopted and implemented, then this resource could be utilized efficiently. Infrastructure development and improvement is the main objective of the countries like Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda. Telecommunications and power generation are the primary sources of development. While improving the social infrastructure, the social development would also be done. Along with the growth of population, the consumer base in Africa is also growing rapidly. Middle class is increasing, which means the amount of possible consumers is also increasing. According to the African Development Bank (AfDB), there are more than 123 million people in Africa that are considered having a stable middle class condition. This number is the 13% of the entire population, which is very interesting and rewarding for new businesses and investors, because of the potential and a huge appetite it represents for their present and future sales. African countries have realized the significance of education. Education is the key to eliminate all the social evils and to stimulate the economic growth. The African governments are framing policies to strengthen the education sector in their countries. There is more access to the quality education now. People are also having the access to scholarships and other facilities. Gone are the days when Africa was addressed as the ‘dark continent’. Africa is now continuously striding on the path of prosperity and success. Africa is becoming a hub of startups and more and more number of investors are looking forward to invest in Africa. The large population and wide availability of resources makes it a perfect destination to launch any kind of business module. The key to succeed is to understand the needs and requirements of consumer and then targeting their needs. It is a game of innovation and creativity. It is becoming a favorite destination of investors and corporates. A huge pool of investments will surely charge up the growth accelerating engines. Think startups think Africa!

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