Why all CEMSies should move to Africa to start a business - Like I did

Hi there, staring at your computer… you’re probably bored. I know EXACTLY how that feels, because I have done it for the past 5 years. Working for a big corporate, stagnant lifestyle, daily bureaucratic hassle…. until I QUIT!

It seems to be a trend in our generation: we are in search of ourselves, on the lookout for adventure, have a need to travel. On a large scale millennials are moving away from corporates and becoming a yogi’s instead. That’s fine. But a lifetime of downwards dogging does not satisfy. Besides, as I’m talking to CEMSies: we have grown to be a bit more ambitious than that. The ultimate goal: find a job that combines my business aspirations with a more exciting private life than an exhausting 9-5. So here’s my plea, to every CEMSie: consider Africa, bwana 🙂

3 business opportunities why you should move to Africa:

1. Western concepts work in East Africa

As the East African economy is booming: a growing middle class and expat community is in need of new – often western – products and retail especially food consumption comes second in terms of spending after telecom and financial services

Example: the hipster place coffee bar Wasp and Sprout. Tapping into the need for a good place to have a chai latte and a running wifi connection, this place is an oasis for the remote worker and socialite mom. European cities are filled with these kind of places, a complete overload. Thing is: it’s still new and very wanted in Kenya.  

2. Franchise

Kenyans LOVE chains, and are begging for more. People here want the same experience as customers everywhere in the world, good quality products and an enjoyable customer experience. One successful entrepreneur that I know set up the Subway and Pizza Hut franchise in Tanzania and Kenya. Kenyan people have embraced pizza earlier than sandwiches but they are rapidly picking up on good, healthy food for fair prices. At the moment both chains are still expanding planning to take over neighbouring markets like Uganda, Angola, Ghana.

Why East Africa? Challenges like getting a franchise license, finding quality suppliers and structural hurdles are inevitable, but that’s just one more reason why you should come here now and set footprint in the East African market before it gets crowded.

Doing business in East Africa has a big developmental element compared to other markets that might be easier to operate in, but are not necessarily socially responsible having a big development impact: “At its core is the belief that in Africa it is possible to make money while doing good.” (source: Christopher J. Bak, for How we made it in Africa). Read the whole interview here

3. Leapfrogging economy

New technologies are rapidly transforming societies, especially in Africa. Take Mpesa for example. An advanced mobile payment method which originated in Kenya and is spreading fast through Africa. Only 25% of people in Africa have a bank account. The rest do not have access to safe and secure banking solutions. Almost 75% of people in Africa have access to a mobile phone, so a mobile money service was the solution. You can use MPESA to transfer money directly to for example your family on the other side of the country, or to pay at the supermarket. More about the benefits of mobile money in this article.

Not only is East Africa a frontrunner in new banking solutions, also in energy. As most of the country has to access to power, Kenya is pioneering in supplying the most remote areas with solar panels. Have a look at this solar panel company breaking the frontier.  Have a look at this energy supplier start-up Pawame.

Why am I writing this?!

By now you must be wondering why am I writing this? Well I am sitting on the terrace of our amazing Villa in Nairobi, overlooking a jungle-like garden and working ….yeah i know, not exactly the standard office. What am I doing here? Well long story short I am setting up my own business unit in an off-the-beaten-track travel start up www.charlies-travels.com. The most unique and adventurous trips you can imagine in Africa: we’re organizing them. So not ready to quit your job yet, but ready for an adventurous investigation trip? Send me a message, and I’ll happily walk you through the possibilities 🙂  

I am always keen to brainstorm about more opportunities. There are lots, i see them everywhere. Reach out to me [email protected].

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