20 December 2019 | 2 minutes

The entrepreneurial spirit is strong in Africa.

Where there are no jobs available, African people are encouraged to create jobs. In countries like Cameroon, part of the national strategy to reduce poverty includes entrepreneurship. In Uganda, entrepreneurship has been worked into the school system so that the youth can learn to run businesses before they enter the workforce.

The African Union Development Agency recently launched a campaign called 100 000 SME’s for 1 Million Jobs by 2021 which aims to provide concrete opportunities for youth in the areas of education, employment, entrepreneurship and engagement. The continent-wide call for more entrepreneurs will also help to achieve several of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. This includes a reduction in poverty, decent work and economic growth, reduced inequalities as well as industry, innovation and infrastructure.

“MTN, for example, lends support to 5 million of MTN retail store owners across Africa and the Middle East.”

The digital world provides all kinds of entrepreneurial opportunities, from publishing blogs and creating online stores to managing the digital marketing activities of other business owners – almost anyone can operate a business online, and find a YouTube tutorial to learn the relevant digital skills! For those who prefer working in the physical world, there is clearly still value in traditional brick and mortar businesses – read more about that here. (link to physical stores article)

A publication for small business owners published an article in 2019 about the advantages of buying a franchise. The first advantage listed is the power of the franchisor’s brand. All the heavy lifting has already been done when you purchase a franchise – the brand is established and therefore more likely to be trusted, the business model is tried and tested and even the colour of the paint on the walls has already been chosen. When an entrepreneur buys a franchise, they certainly aren’t starting from scratch.

Other advantages listed in the article include the opportunity to rely on the experience and reputation of others. If you aren’t opening a first-of-its-kind business, you are likely to enjoy a range of benefits including supplier discounts and traction from regional and national marketing campaigns. When new customers walk through the door, they are already familiar rather than sceptical.

Possibly one of the most important advantages listed is support. Starting and running a business can be daunting for even the most confident person. MTN, for example, lends support to 5 million of MTN retail store owners across Africa and the Middle East. Support includes the relevant training and ensuring a full understanding of the business model. It also includes the opportunity to learn from the insights of other franchisees, while running a business completely alone requires time-consuming research and a lot of trial and error.

As the continent’s population grows, so does the need for jobs and the opportunity to gain new customers. Opening a franchise in an African country can certainly be considered as a way to be entrepreneurial with minimal risk.

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