And more equally valid alternatives
As an entrepreneur, especially in Kenya, it is likely that you are looking for money. But there are two
One: Money is nowhere to be found.
Two: If there are funds, you won’t be able to access them.
The last meeting of Entrepreneur Café in Nairobi proved both assumptions wrong.
One: Money is there in plenty.
You just need to know where to look. There are venture capitalists, seed and angel investors, bank
loans and business credit as well as grants. There is even a Kenyan crowdfunding platform. “Money is
information,” says Gilbert, an Entrepreneur Café member with vast knowledge in finance. “You need
to know what you want, where you can get it and under which conditions.” This involves extensive
research. At the last meeting we barely touched the surface and had already plenty of sources.
Two: Proper research is one way to get funded.
You need to do the work, of course. You must have a business plan or a business model, you need to
be able to show how serious you are. And you need to expose yourself and do networking, for which
Entrepreneur Café is the ideal place.
That said, there are other options to get money.
We shortly discussed family and friends as yet another source of support. They also have networks,
for one, and if they see that you are serious, there are chances that they back you up. If you are just
starting out, turning to your family and friends might be a good idea, in order to gain credibility and
But does it always have to be support in form of money?
We discussed the example of an urban farmer in the US, who is producing and selling lots of organic
vegetables without owning even an acre of land. He leases small pieces of land around people’s
houses in his town who don’t use it, and pays them off in vegetables.
Labour is also an investment that you can provide in exchange for accommodation and food. And it always helps to team up. That is what happens in Kenya if people apply for bank loans. The banks need security, but as a small start-up you may not have a property or land big enough to meet their requirements. But if you team up and you apply in conjunction with an investor who is able to provide the security, everybody wins:
You get a bank loan, the investor does her job investing in you, and the bank gets another customer. There are ways and means to get support, financially and in other forms. But you need to know where to look for them and what to provide. That is why on June 25th, we are going to hear from experts from the world of finance, following the evenings motto #GetMeMoneyHoney.
Learning from the experts
Nairobi entrepreneurs visit RE/MAX and get to know the business model of the real estate franchising company
Normally, the meetings of Entrepreneur Café Nairobi happen in town in a local restaurant, but this time the participants were invited by RE/MAX Kenya. Robyn T. Emerson, the Regional Director, explained their business model.
And while usually in a real estate company, the business is built like a pyramid, with the few bosses on top and inexperienced agents at the bottom, the RE/MAX way works the opposite way. This enables them to open career paths and train their agents, while still benefiting from their expertise and gaining profit.
Compared to the start-uppers of Entrepreneur Café Nairobi, the RE/MAX model works best in huge companies. However, even entrepreneurs who are running their businesses as a one man show can learn from this model how important and successful it is to invest in their partners in order to grow.
We heartily thank RE/MAX and especially Robyn T. Emerson for the warm welcome and inspiring open house. We are grateful for being recognised, invited and worked with.