Microflush toilets, mascots, interior design and organic agriculture: Kenya's young entrepreneurs are bursting of creativityRead Now
What happens when young Kenyans come together for an hour to discuss entrepreneurship? You get all kinds of people who are active in all types of trades, learning from and inspiring each other.
There is, for example, Geoffrey, who is the only person in Kenya selling microflush toilets. They are not only a hygienic and environmentally friendly solution, they also produce organic fertiliser and help people get an income.
Then there is Linah, who started her interior design business as a side hustle and turned it into her main source of income. She makes home decor from different material like wood, metal and glass.
Carol runs a company that produces, rents and sells mascots and costumes, not only for entertainment and advertising, but also for educational purposes and for private parties.
Antony is in the process of registering a company with various stakeholders and friends from his class in university.
And Zakariyyah is involved in organic agriculture, using his connections from his home country Nigeria to find proper seeds and also the market for certain vegetables, while he is teaching and organising workshops in an institution.
What they have in common
These people are often the only people in their niche. Their ideas are so creative and unique that they hardly have any competition. Nobody else in Kenya sells microflush toilets or unique home decor in Linah's style, or high quality mascots for any purpose - yet.
It is now upon these young makers to build their name and leave their footprint. Soon enough people will try to copy their model, but if they can keep up their uniqueness and quality, they won’t have to worry.
Another fact is that they find what they do fulfilling. Geoffrey walked away from a job where he made a lot of money for the company but was broke himself in the middle of the month.
Even Antony is familiar with that experience: "Without you, the company is only half as successful, yet your salary is nothing compared to the work you're doing and the revenue you gain for the company."
What they struggle with
Problems often deal with resources for these entrepreneurs. Geoffrey applied for funding from a foundation but they wanted to brand it in their own name. Now they have approached him several times but he refuses their proposals, because he fears losing the power and identity of the idea.
Linah would love to buy materials for her furniture in bulk to make production a bit cheaper, but she lacks capital.
Antony is waiting for his papers and documents being returned. He initiated to register the company a long time ago. The issue here is clearly corruption. Since he doesn't want to bribe an officer and cannot afford it either, his files have to wait, collect dust and might even "get lost".
What we can learn from them
Carol came to the meeting with a clear objective: networking. "I have my own policy of visiting three networking events per month. It's important to make contacts and meet people."
She also has a tip for Antony and Linah, and probably many Kenyans thinking of becoming "Ltd.": "Register your company as soon as possible. Pay someone to follow up and ask for all the documents immediately. Only in that way can you make sure that you get that license before something in the law changes."
And Linah is a pro in marketing her pieces online. She sells them on major Kenyan online shopping platforms and is also active in facebook groups where potential customers hang out.
When this great amount of creativity and dedication comes together in one place, everyone can get inspired and learn a great deal. For the next meetings we are going to tap these sources more and make everyone profit from the experience called Entrepreneur Café.
Linah’s interior design can be found on facebook at Aposh Home Decor.
Carol’s website is birdiemascots.co.ke
More information about Geoffrey’s microflush toilets at facebook under Kenya Microflush Toilets.
It was the first meet in Hyderabad and while I was waiting with the Entrepreneur Café placard placed on the table, I was just wondering how many people would actually turn up and how the meeting would go. To my delight, six people turned up (including five entrepreneurs), which is pretty good, given that we had only three days to promote the event.
I gave a quick overview of Entrepreneur Café and initiated the introductory session. The attendees introduced themselves, talked about their respective ventures and then began the discussion. We discussed about entrepreneurship in general and what it takes to become one. Everyone shared their ideas and experiences. Mohit Jitani has a brilliant idea which he wants to turn into a business. He shared his idea with us and got wonderful insights from other entrepreneurs on how he should go about taking the first step in launching his own start-up, how identifying the problem and targeting the right people for whom the problem is being solved is very important. We also talked about how to sell a business idea and get investors to invest in your venture. Chinmay Rajula (Founder of Clapone) connected with two like-minded entrepreneurs Rohith Ram and Ashok Reddy (Founders of CelebMedia) who also have a media related venture.
The discussions were really insightful and knowledgeable for all of us. All the attendees had a great time and we are looking forward to the next meet!
City Mayor, Hyderabad
It is always very important for me to understand on what I do and what I involve in.
Coz I am not going to do something for the sake of other people, to please, to show off, what else to compete.
It takes me sometimes to read thru, understand and 'feel' what the whole 'soul idea' Entrepreneur Café is all about.
Combining what I believe 'what Entrepreneurship should be', I can see the idea of Entrepreneur Café is something with its nature of having great time, enjoy, fun, relaxing and at the same time indirectly u are making yourself a happy person in what u do.
The power of BEING HAPPY on what u do is beyond the limits! :)
This is very important coz Entrepreneurship can be a great ideology of what u are doing either positive or negative.
Thus, The Entrepreneur Cafe Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia had the 2nd meeting with fantastic, fun and happy mode from 6.30-7.30pm ( extra time 1 hour coz too many great things the participant discussed while enjoying lots of smiles & laughter )
During the chat with the participants who were entrepreneurs, international entrepreneurs experts & figure, they agreed with The Kuala Lumpur Entrepreneur Café that Entrepreneurship should be interpreted as 'happy world, happy environment' to be engaged with.
Definitely, everyone is HAPPY and looking forward for more excitement on next meeting coz we are seeing the same positive and correct direction to build-up a great entrepreneurship thinking.
Great gathering of young entrepreneurs .....
1. There were 9 people present in the meet. The meeting was very informal and we started with introducing Entrepreneur cafe and our partnership with NASSCOM 10K start-up. Then I asked everyone to fill the contact form (attached) and introduce themselves. We had students, entrepreneurs, IT professionals, wannabe entrepreneurs, social workers in the meeting. It was wonderful to see that everyone is very much interested to solve problems be it small or large.
2. Then we discussed about how to grow this community can create a entrepreneurial ecosystem in Bhubaneswar so that more and more people take up the challenge. Also, we had a very good discussion about business plan preparation and investor search.
3. We also discussed about how to build a support network for success in entrepreneurship.
4. Finally, time was getting over. Hence, we asked the cafe staff to take a group picture (attached). Then I thanked everyone for attending the meet and gave the schedule of next meet.
Pratap, City Mayor Bhubneshwar
Our meeting today was definitely more ‘Quality’ than ‘Quantity’.
What an interesting discussion we had....
Gerry Honan has a multi level marketing business with a global reach while David Smyth has a variety of business interests including providing specialized referrals for high value transaction clients worldwide.
After introductions and updates on the fantastic growth of Entrepreneur Cafe and news of the Annual Global Meeting in New Delhi in November, we discussed the concept of ‘Am I building a pipeline or hauling buckets in my business?’ This concept is discussed in detail in the book written by Robert T. Kiyosaki titled “The Cashflow Quadrant” and it basically asks the question: Are you building a business or creating a job for yourself?
All three of us are looking forward to meeting again on the 26th of February. :)
So the scene was set. City mayors were ready and excited for yet another “first-time-ever” experience by the Entrepreneur Café!
What are we talking about? Well this one is about the time when the City Mayors gathered together for a discussion! Well one must be thinking: So what was so cool about this?
Well the discussion was real time. It was a Skype Call which was scheduled at 4:30 PM (GMT) for the convenience of one and all. The beauty of being a global family! So as scheduled many City Mayors joined the call initiated by Professor Nikhil Agarwal, Founder of Entrepreneur Cafe. The ones who couldn’t join the call were present on the Facebook Message thread for the live updates. See, Us at Entrepreneur Café value and cherish each member.
Now the answer: Just imagine how cool it was! These were the guys who work to make every 2nd/4th Thursday an amazing experience for fellow likeminded entrepreneurs all over the world. For the first time, very first time all the City Mayors were in a real time brainstorming discussion about the Ecafe Stuff!
The call started by a quick round of introduction of the community and talking on the success of the E-Café initiative. We are growing by the day. No!!! Correction: By the hour!
Then we moved onto our tie-up with NASSCOM for the #BeMyValenTech event which is in association with our 12th Feb 2015 meetings! This is also a very novel initiative wherein we have taken this herculean task of what cupid used to do, which is finding the perfect “Startup Soul mate” for the aspiring. Let us tell you that we even received a “Thank You” mail from Cupid as well. He has already been so busy this time of the month so we took off his burden. (LOL)
We had on call, City Mayors from Bangalore, Boston, Bogota, Bhubaneswar, Casablanca, Dubai, Faridabad , Nagpur, New Delhi, Surat and many more too. Others were connected live on the Facebook page.
It was a very steaming session wherein everybody else followed with their introduction to others and how we could grow more, reach out more and make our statement reach even further. Also we had our very eager City Mayors who could not make it for the call but we kept giving them live feeds about the Skype Session.
One of the discussions also led to thinking of making New Delhi a hub for the student entrepreneurs given the strategic location and presence of vast opportunities, also the City Mayors from Delhi being students themselves!
There were some serious discussions on some of our future plans as well. But you have to stay tuned for those to be public. We never deliver unless we nail perfection! In between the discussions there were some occasional jokes as well. We all had a good laugh at them too. This is the beauty of being an International Family!
The session lasted more than an hour. But then we had to make it a little less hotter in the conference room so we better took leave. It was a very successful session overall and the next such session is planned too.
The main focus of our City mayors is on the 12th Feb meeting. It is going to be Big! And it is a media event as well! Are you reading this? You must come. We at Entrepreneur Café welcome you all! :)
Entrepreneur Cafe is proud to support 10K startup program
What is 10K Startup
10,000 Startups is an ambitious attempt by India’s premier IT industry body - NASSCOM to scale up the startup ecosystem in India by 10x. The program is supported by Microsoft, Google, Intel, Verisign & Kotak. 10,000 Startups aims to enable incubation, funding and support for 10,000 technology startups in India over the next ten years.
The program’s vision is to:
§ Foster entrepreneurship
§ Build entrepreneurial capabilities at scale and
§ Strengthen early stage support for tech startups
To meet these objective the program has bring together key stakeholders of the ecosystem including startup incubators / accelerators, angel investors, venture capitalists, startup support groups, mentors and technology corporations.
With 10,000 Start-ups NASSCOM aims to build a vibrant ecosystem for technology entrepreneurship in India.
India’s largest platform to connect with the tech entrepreneurship community
- Under the aegis of 10,000 Start-ups, NASSCOM organizes and supports workshops, meetups, hackathon, pitches for technology entrepreneurs building solutions for web and mobile in order to build a vibrant tech startup ecosystem in the country. Since its launch in April 2013, the 10,000 Start-ups has done about 462 events in 22 cities of the country which were attended by a whopping 25,000 attendees
- In the last one and half years, 10,000 Start-ups has built a vibrant social community for more than 100,000 followers and an opt-in mailing list of about 30,000 existing and aspiring entrepreneurs
- The program has also hosted some of the global icons of the technology world like Eric Schmidt, Michael Dell, Vinod Khosla and more recently Sundar Pichai .
India’s biggest tech startup program in terms of impact
- After it was launched in April’13, the 10,000 Start-ups program has received over 9000 applications from various parts of the country and about 500 tech startups have been shortlisted in 2 phases. These startups got the opportunity to pitch to more than 30+ partners of the program including leading accelerators, angel investor networks and venture capital firms.
- These companies received access to a pool of mentors including technology leaders, successful founders, domain experts, angel investors etc
- Beyond this, they also received platforms to meet large enterprises, system integrators and strategic who could potentially be customers and strategic partners.
- With the support of Govt of Karnataka, NASSCOM also established a co-working facility called Startup Warehouse exclusively for tech startups right in the heart of the city.
- Through various initiatives, the program has been able to successfully impact 150+ technology startups out of the 800+ who have been shortlisted under the program. These companies have raised funds, got into acceleration programs, found customers and onboarded mentors through the program. We look forward to scaling this number drastically in the days to come!
For More Information Visit : http://10000startups.com/