Wednesday, December 6, 2023

See beyond the here and now! An entrepreneur moves ahead of the times


I’m always fascinated by people who see the value of something, only after others have seen it, and then rush to get a piece of the action. What if such people had the ability to see value in something before others see its value? My interest has always been about trying to identify what is valuable before it becomes valuable!

Think about it for a moment: Are you a @FastFollower or a @SlowFollower?

Yes, there is such a thing as a @SlowFollower. There are people who are rushing to get into things, but yet they are @SlowFollowers!

Every week I hear of people wanting to get into Data Centres; but we developed our first one more than 10 years ago, when no one even knew what they were! Our Data Centre in Nairobi was virtually empty for years, as we waited for a market to develop.

There are people who still call me to offer us a mobile license, and are surprised when I tell them I have not built a mobile network for more than 15 years…

Been there, done that, and long moved on!

A successful entrepreneur does not move with the times, but ahead of the times.

Many of you might have missed this, but about a week ago there was an announcement that our renewable energy business DPA [Distributed Power Africa] had sold 50% of its Kenya business to EDF, the French utility company, and one of the largest in the whole world.

This was a historic milestone in many ways:

#1. To see such a large global company team up with a small African start-up to develop to as 50:50 partners is quite unusual.

#2. It shows you what I have been saying for a long time, that the future of energy in Africa is renewable! EDF has more installed solar power than all the power generated by traditional means in the entire African continent.

#3. It shows the ambition we have for DPA: I want it to be the biggest power company in Africa. Period!

It took more than two years of negotiations with EDF to get this deal done. It will one day be bigger than Liquid, or even Econet itself. I know the pathway it will take, because it is a well beaten pathway.

What new entrepreneurial opportunities will these emerging businesses of ours create for other innovators, entrepreneurs, fast followers and even slow-followers across Africa?


I know these are very tough times but I want all of you to remain focused like eagles in this storm of storms that our world is still facing right now: Keep your eyes open, your spirits up, and please continue to be very careful and follow the health guidelines so we can get this pandemic behind us ASAP.

Meanwhile, as an entrepreneur, what are you seeing lately? What are you not seeing? Are you taking the time to skill up? Is this your time to fly?

Let’s talk.


Image credit: Thanks to @denemiles @natgeoyou #YourShotPhotographer .


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