Scaling startups in Ethiopia

Entrepreneurship / Ethiopia - 20.07.2018 - Posted by

Yesterday our CEO Johnni Kjelsgaard was fortunate to be part of a panel discussion alongside Novastar Ventures MD Andrew Carruthers during Ethiopia’s Mella. monthly event held at Ethiopia’s Bake & Brew. Running our second Acceleration Programme in Ethiopia this year, we believe that the entrepreneurs in Ethiopia possess great potential to scale and attract funding for their businesses. While this may be the case, there are certain gaps that when addressed effectively will see Ethiopia’s entrepreneurial ecosystem boosted substantially. This discussion touches on these gaps and offers solution as follows:
Where do you see the opportunity in Ethiopia is?
“From our perspective, we believe there is a huge gap between where the investors expectation/standard is and where the entrepreneurs are. And we see a a great opportunity for us to come and fill that gap – Learn how to see the world from the eyes of the investors” – Johnni (GrowthAfrica)When you look at Ethiopia what do you think is the biggest value for you?
“Ethiopia is a 100 million people and so many broken value chains, so who ever finds a way to fix that will be attractive. And that is a massive opportunity.” – Andrew (Novastar)
What do you look for in the entrepreneurs you work with?
“We look for a fair amount of ambition, a fair amount of commitment and a certain degree of capacity to handle the support we give to understand and implement” – Johnni (GrowthAfrica)

How do you tackle the fear by entrepreneurs to share their business ideas?
“Idea is worth nothing, action is worth everything. Unless you implement the idea with speed, someone is going to take that idea and make it worth something anyway. So get on with it.” – Johnni (GrowthAfrica)
How do you tackle the fear of sharing business ideas?
“An idea is worth nothing, action is worth everything. Unless you implement the idea with speed, someone is going to take that idea & make it worth something anyway. So get on with it.” – Johnni (GrowthAfrica)

Key remarks

“If you don’t know how to sell your products, how do you expect others to do that on your behalf? You have to be willing to go out and meet the customers and learn about what they actually want. Then you will know if your model works” – when asked about how entrepreneurs could measure if their business models work.” – Johnni (GrowthAfrica)

“There is a degree of exposure that is expected from every Entrepreneur we invest in. We expect honesty, element of partnership and willingness to share with us.” – Andrew (Novastar)

“A lot of Entrepreneurs find themselves stuck after setting up their business because they never had a clear understanding of why they started a business. We are industry agnostic, and the peer component of our program is one of the main pillars for the support system to work. We never invest in a single entrepreneur. We only invest in a team” – Andrew (Novastar)

“We facilitate real dialog use among our entrepreneurs because problems faced by one entrepreneur may have been resolved by another entrepreneur.” -Andrew (Novastar)

“Make sure the main reason you want to start a business is for all the right reasons, make sure it’s something that is in line with with your passion and your purpose in life.” –Johnni (GrowthAfrica)