Starting a Startup Business in Africa

Africa is not the first continent that comes to mind when we speak about successful startups. Still, this is the continent where the business and the GDP is booming. Of course, using African countries as primary locations for your business comes with plenty of disadvantages, including the bad infrastructure and difficult regulations.

Entrepreneurs who have the will to tackle these roadblocks will have the access to some of the richest talent pools in the world and the cheapest rent and utility costs you can imagine. Although we can’t think of the African continent as a single market, many Western startups that are made in one African country managed to target the whole region with their products and services. So, apart from offering great places and talents for a competitive price, some African countries and regions also have a very developed market and a booming middle class that is being slowly affected by the consumerist craze.

In this article, we will share tips that will help you improve the prospects of your African business and use all the benefits this continent provides to both foreign and domestic investors.

Customize your business for the market of African countries

As we have mentioned in the introduction, each country in Africa has a different story when it comes to business and market trends. That is normal because consumers across Africa have different problems, wants, and needs that mainly depend on their location. If you want to launch a startup in an African country and target the local population, find out a unique business idea that will help the general population overcome their problems and live a better life. Entrepreneurs who find an idea like this appealing shouldn’t hesitate to take small business loans and launch their startup there.

There are several entrepreneurs in Africa that created multibillion-dollar empires by providing electricity and Wi-Fi to remote and impoverished areas. These entrepreneurs have found perfect solutions for some of the biggest contemporary problems on the continent, and tin return, they managed to achieve incredibly high sales, huge profit margins and lots of grants from all over the world.

Don’t forget the world business trends either

Although African countries are considerably different from the large parts of the developed world, businesses with their headquarters in Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria or Tanzania, also need to follow the market trends on the worldwide business arena. For example, the widespread digitalization allowed many African entrepreneurs to earn millions of dollars by providing web design, SEO, and digital marketing services. A good example of this concept is the Abasiama Idaresit’s company, called the Wild Fusion. They are an official Google Partner, and by providing digital marketing services to the companies like Visa, Samsung, Unilever, and Vodafone, they have earned 6 million dollars in revenue.

In African countries, consumerism is not that big

People in Africa are not blinded by consumerism. They save their money and don’t shop for another TV or smartphone if the old one is still working. Even if it doesn’t work, they will find an affordable repair shop that can extend the life of their gadgets. Many entrepreneurs have used this frugal concept to earn millions of dollars. Axel Fourie from South Africa has started his multimillion-dollar business by fixing iPhones and iPads, and now he owns eight repair stores, employs 85 people and has expanded his business by starting to manufacture smartphone accessories.

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Use Africa’s abundant resources

Many successful African entrepreneurs earn huge amounts of money by making the use of incredible natural resources their countries provide. Apart from the well-known (and notorious) gold and diamond mines, Sub-Saharan Africa is a part of the world where you will find clean air and rivers, lots of sun, plenty of affordable land, and incredible agricultural and animal breeding opportunities. If you managed to use some of these resources, you would be a step ahead of many European and North American businesses that need to invest millions of dollars to find adequate land and turn it into a profitable enterprise.

Find relevant local partners

When it comes to business opportunities, most African countries are very difficult to navigate. That’s why you should find good local partners that will help you find the appropriate land, suppliers, and employees to start your business venture. Many international companies found subsidiaries run by local people that have a huge independence when it comes to supply deals, talent selection, and many other smaller management tasks.

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I hope that these tips and some of the examples we have provided will help you choose Africa as a place to start your business. Remember that people on this continent respect the companies that give something back to the community. That is why you should engage in Corporate Social Responsibility from the very beginning, and your enterprise will be rewarded with gratitude and respect from the local people.


Nate Vickery
Nate Vickery is a business consultant mostly focused on streamlining startup and SMB management. He is also the executive editor at Bizzmark Blog.



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