In our last meeting we discussed a crucial question for entrepreneurs, especially start-ups: Where is the money? The question comes up regularly in our meetings and is definitely a big issue.
Entrepreneurship seems to be a global phenomenon and the mathematics of it work everywhere in the world, or at least that’s what we are told. But especially for entrepreneurs in Kenya it quickly becomes clear that things don’t work the same as in other parts of the world.
So while it might be common to reach out to investors or ask others for funding, there are some
difficulties that come with certain cultures in which we are trying to set our business.
Maybe it is a good idea to get a license and patent your idea. You should make sure to get a copyright so that nobody can steal your idea. But that already costs money.
There are several funds within Kenya for groups and youth. Unfortunately, many members of
Entrepreneur Café Nairobi have been frustrated and unsuccessful when applying for that money.
There is even the possibility to ask for the list of Uwezo Fund in your constituency. Dennis Bossek from Mara Foundation encouraged us to change the mentality and keep asking for what is meant to boost our ideas and businesses.
But is it really necessary to start with money? Is money really the main challenge? If you approach an investor in order to get funding in any country, they will ask you: What have you done so far?
So instead of keeping your business idea dormant and waiting for that day when you will hit the
jackpot, miraculously get a lot of money and then kick off your business, you can start really small
and build from there.
Ask yourself: What problem am I solving? For whom am I solving it? Have you done it for free before,
just to test the idea and get some prototypes and feedback on them? Try and offer your unique service or product to a bigger company. A tender like that can open the road to more credibility and popularity for you.
You also should start building a strong network like we do with Entrepreneur Café. More often than not you can find investors or people who are interested in what you are doing in that way. You can use those contacts not only for financial, but also for technical support.
Also build your knowledge. Keep on learning before you ask for money. We already have the resources. We don’t need to start from the point of money or funding. We need to start from the point of demand. We need to start with motivation.