1. Name: Cephas Nshimyumuremyi
Quote: “Don’t think that you need a lot of capital. Start with a little, but use the knowledge and the environment that you already have.”
Cephas Nshimyumuremyi has always wanted to be an entrepreneur and a solution provider. He knew his teaching salary wasn’t going to be enough to fulfill his dreams. He saw a business opportunity when he received an information that the Rwandan people were attempting to use local plants for skin infections and to improve their skin quality.
Cephas saw this as a golden ticket for him to launch into his dream, he decided to use his science background and his knowledge for Rwanda’s local plants to create his company – Uburanga products to create herbal smearing jellies and soaps out of local medicinal plants. He started his production line in his garage and used his salary from teaching to fund his venture. In seven months, his business was worth Rwf14million.
2. Name: Christine Buchanan and Louiza Rademan
Country: South Africa
Quote: “Your passion can make you success.”
When Christine Buchana had her first child, he suffered from intolerable nappy rash and she couldn’t find a natural product to help soothe him. Christine sister Louiza Rademan concocted a nappy rash balm for him and it worked wonders. This opened the doors of entrepreneurship for Christine who started selling the balm to other moms in her maternity classes. Christine and Louiza, then realizing they had stumbled upon a business opportunity, decided to their making of lotions and balms to the next level. They quit their senior positions in the property sector to follow their passion for creating products using only natural ingredients.
3. Name: Abasiama Idaresit
Quote: “We must inspire our kinsmen to look beyond the now and to see the big picture. If we don’t roll up our sleeves and get dirty, no one else will.”
Abasiama Idaresit didn’t make money for the first eight months. He was chased out of a potential client’s office for his outrageous concept. As at that time, Digital Marketing was almost unheard of in Nigeria.
Idaresit then approached Baby M, a small business that catered to the needs of new mothers and their babies. Baby M had a network of sales agents who searched for customers on a daily basis to make ends meet. Idaresit finally managed to convince Baby M, his first customer, to give him a chance by offering a money back guarantee if he didn’t give the company a return on investment. Baby M gave him N40’000(USD250) as payment in advance so that Idaresit could work his magic. In three months Baby M’s revenue grew from USD1000 a month to USD100’000 a month through digital marketing. As at today, Wild Fusions spans in three countries which include Ghana, Kenya, and Nigeria and boast of clients like Unilever, Vodacom and many more African and international clients.
4. Name: Divine Ndhlukula
Quote: “Investigate various opportunities that you could see and think of.”
Divine Ndhlukula has always had the passion for entrepreneurship. She would sell out clothing to her colleagues and rent out trucks to construction companies to make a little extra money. Divine was always on the lookout for her next entrepreneurial opportunity.
She encountered a challenge when her brother fell on hard times and she had to work at his farm to save him from bankruptcy. On returning back to work, Divine became aware of an opportunity to branch into the security services sector. She discovered that the security sector lacked the professionalism, quality, and services that a number of businesses required. Although she didn’t have a passion for security, she had the passion for business and so with no capital and knowledge of security, Divine started her business with a determination to succeed.
SECURICO is now one of Zimbabwe’s largest security groups and has developed into a world-class security service organization, with partnerships in countries like South Africa, China, and India.
5. Name: Chris Kirubi
Quote: “Business is always a struggle. There are always obstacles and competitors. There is never an open road, except the wide road that leads to failure. Every great success is always achieved with a fight. Every winner has scars.”
Chris Kirubi ventured into purchasing and selling of houses to make an extra money. He used the money made from flipping houses to invest in some of the city’s new start-up businesses and residential organizations. Chris started out with a clever profit making scheme and investment strategy, as at today – he is an icon of the Kenyan property industry. Chris now owns more than 40 commercial and residential properties in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi. He once said; “I rise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world”. “This makes it hard to plan the day. But because I want to achieve my purpose and make a difference in the society, I will stop focusing on the frightful things I see when I take my eyes off my goals and instead fix them there.” He added.
6. Name: Jacky Goliath and Elton Jefthas
Country: South Africa
Jacky and Elton success story began when they spotted a business opportunity in selling fynbos. Their part-time business of selling and growing fynbos an indigenous plant – was run out of Elton’s backyard, but the quantity produced couldn’t keep up with the market demand. Once their side job paid more than their actual jobs, they decided to create De Fynne nursery. Jacky and Elton eventually moved their nursery from the backyard to a 0.5-hectare piece of land in 2005. As at today, they have employed 22 permanent workers and the company now produce indigenous potted plants, fruit trees and other ornamentals for agricultural industry – to keep up with the constantly growing demand, Jacky and Elton had to move to a commercial 22-hectare site. De Fynne nursery now supplies plants to major retailers, commercial farmers and wine estates.
7. Name: Christine Mbabazi
Christine Mbabazi’s journey to success began when she decided to make her own clothes so she could look unique and interesting. Her friends saw her designs and convinced her to start selling them. Not long, clients started knocking at her door to ask for her creations. Eventually, Christine had to expand into a bigger store to keep up with the orders. Currently, she is strategizing to become a household name in Rwanda and sell her clothing globally. “The brand is promoting African fabric and African designs, with my creativity and developing it for the rest of the world,” says Christine.
8. Name: Zainab Ashadu
Quote: “The biggest lesson I’ve learned is to dream big, but start small.”
Zainab Ashadu started a sustainable luxury handbag company, which specializes in handcrafted leather pieces. Zainab, who uses locally sourced materials including leather, exotic skins and rough cut semi-precious stones for her bag production. She produces her luxury handbags out of a workshop where her team is able to benefit from traditional techniques passed down through generations, by a community of local artisans.
Zainab brand has spread internationally to countries like; London, Paris and The United States of America, elevating awareness of Nigeria’s beautiful craftsmanship.
9. Name: Alex Fourie
Country: South Africa
Quote: “Excellence isn’t a result of one or two good decisions. “It’s a result of thousands of small, good decisions. A bunch of above average decisions will culminate over time. Everything you do, do it well and the rest will sort itself out.”
Alex Fourie entrepreneurial journey started when he wanted to fix his iPod. Eventually, he got a request from his friends to help them fix the same issue he’d experienced and soon he was repairing devices out of his dorm room in Stellenbosch.
Today, his weFix national chain of stores repair on average 10’000 Apple and Samsung products a month. As a result of the high influx of tech related customers, the weFix stores now host in-house product lines. The weFix stores also host charging stations called RiCharge. Alex exports both lines into 12 African countries. He also offers iSureFix, an affordable protection plan for Apple products and uFix, a DIY Apple repair kit.
10. Name: Patrick Ngowi
During his early days, Patrick Ngowi discovered that cell phones in Asia were cheaper to buy than in Tanzania. Patrick bought cell phones from low-cost manufacturers and sold them to the Tanzania’s gadget enthusiasts for a profit. At the age of 18, Patrick first start-up made USD150’000
At the time, Tanzania’s national power grid met 10% of the populations’ electricity needs. This meant that most companies, government agencies, and wealthy families depended on electric generators. While Patrick was busy selling low-cost cell phones from Hong Kong and China he learned about solar panels and renewable energy. Alas, another business opportunity was opened to Patrick and he wasn’t going to let this one pass either. He founded Helvetic Solar Contractors, to help Tanzania manage its energy crisis. Patrick little start-up went on to become the Helvetic Group. This company would go on to install 6000 rooftop solar systems and branch into other African countries which include; Rwanda, Burundi, Kenya and Uganda.