4 Strengths Common to African Start-ups
Are there certain strengths common to African start-ups due to their unique situation? Strong suits that their Western counterparts might lack or take for granted? Most definitely. African start-ups are products of their environments. The ideas that become businesses, the opportunities they tap into, and the constant adaption of their business models are all reflections of the surroundings in which they operate. Consequently, African start-ups have specific attributes that are peculiar to them and them only.
African start-ups are innovative
For the tech sector in Africa, this is a no-brainer. It is the sector that has attracted the most funding in the last five years for its constant novelty in the ecosystem. It is responsible for the world sitting up and taking notice of Africa’s ecosystem. However, innovation in African start-ups does not begin and end in the tech sector. Though it has gone a long way to enable other industries, it is a strength common to African start-ups that are in the race for the long haul, modernising their businesses and counting the continent among others in innovation. Only recently, six start-ups from Nigeria, Kenya, Cameroun, and Rwanda were recognized as technology pioneers of 2022 by the World Economic Forum.
African start-ups are socially conscious
Besides the obvious advantage of creating jobs for their immediate communities, another unique quality of African start-ups is their social impact. Whether it is tackling challenges such as the lack of Wi-Fi connection or fresh water, basic healthcare or illiteracy, African start-ups consider the financially excluded, the unbanked, those without access to electrical power, etc, and bring them into the start-up fold in order for all to benefit. It is a strength common to African start-ups, or as an article about African start-ups put it, “It is tech for good.”
African start-ups have (mostly) youthful founders & management team
It is no secret that the African continent is brimming with the youngest population in the world – Gen X, Y & Z – who were (and still are) largely influenced by information from developed nations. Be it in books, movies, or personalities; and innovation springs from this combination, most of which is disruptive, veering off the traditional, safe path. These generations are African start-ups’ founders unafraid to experiment and stand out, to channel the continent in bold, new directions. A good example is the creativity and momentum taking place in the tech industry. The youths are the key to Africa’s sustainable development.
African start-ups support one another
An article on Disrupt Africa called it the “virtuous cycle”, where successful African founders invest in other start-ups to enable them scale and grow. For instance, two known founders – PayStack and Flutterwave – featured in deals made by start-ups last year. They are among many other experienced founders ploughing back funds into the system in which they operate. Without a doubt, this practice portends positivity in the African start-up ecosystem. For one, this show of support for their counterparts will encourage other thriving businesses to do likewise. It will also help to improve the African ecosystem, not only with the needed capital but with expertise and networking too.