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


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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!

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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…

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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:

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#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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  1. “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.” This has lifted my spirit up Sir, focus is what we need indeed, it is my time to fly. Congratulations on the partnership between DPA and EDF

  2. Exactly….. This is what strategy is all about, to be preemptive and not reactive.

    Thanks for sharing this insight especially during this very difficult time which is very challenging but also full of opportunities

  3. Dear chief.
    I have stayed upbeat on this page and try to follow each an every post as well and note down the positives. I think this post round up alot of inspiring stories you have always posted here. The road ahead is really a key to pushing entrepreneur spirit & disruptive mindset in the world of business.
    Sir what’s your take on Electronic Vehicle (EV) and how can entrepreneurs in Africa cash on the new fuel that powers the future (batteries)? Because Africa houses alot of raw materials mineral resources for making batteries and abundant sun coverage all year round?
    I see a this typifies what this writing is all about. In Nigeria a startup “Echotronics” is building mobile EV changing stations even as EV’s are very few now.

  4. Ask me about challenges of pitching ideas to potential venture capitalists and angel investors on ideas that they don’t apparently see value in now..so they completely ignore you or say they aren’t into it ..yet deep down, your heart beats at the thought of the potential the idea has. You keep praying that one day, just one day, one person will buy into your idea and East Africa will not be the same again..so help me God.

  5. Leader many thanks for yet a beautiful message.

    I have taken the time to @skill up in the game.

    Over the years I realizes the game, (entrepreneurship world) demands sacrificial time which in turn resulting to advance discoveries.

    God bless the future

  6. Dr Strive Masiyiwa l have a question for you Sir. What do you think about Bitcoin or Cryptocurrencies? I am a bit sceptical about these type of investments or should l call it the modern day gold rush. What is your counsel Sir? Thank you so much for your guidance and wisdom we are learning a lot and soon we will be fast followers.

  7. I just concluded a meeting with a client who was enquiring about out system. In the past 2 years there has been an ongoing legal brawl between one of their competitors and a regulatory board. All this was blamed on a malfunctioning system. So it was a hard sell having to convince this sceptical client about taking a leap of faith backed with referrals from us. What I told her was that digital transformation is here. Rather now than when you will be backed against the wall. Most importantly I told her the system is for tomorrow as much as its for today. As an entrepreneur I have to sell solutions of the future today. Only in hindsight will the client fully appreciate the decision.

  8. As an Entrepreneur, the owner of a small business with one partner and two staff. What I’m seeing lately is that African countries, particularly Nigeria still under estimate the power of small businesses and it’s effects on economic growth.

  9. Chief how do we spot the head of the wagon and be fast followers. Looking at what’s happening with bit coin. How 1 bit coin was worth $0.08 and now it’s $50k a coin. How do we spot the opportunities that are beyond our countries and benefit from them. How do we see what others fail to see in the beginning in investments and in business

  10. Thanks Dr. Strive. It is only you that has always brought about the precise meaning of the word ‘WOW’. You’ve always interpreted it with your ‘Words Of Wisdom’ , can’t stop learning!. Thanks again.

  11. Thank you Chief for this piece as always. And congratulations to DPA.

    We shall remain focused in the midst of this storm to spot opportunities that are being birthed in it.

    And God willing, we shall spot and utilise the opportunities before many others are aware of it.

    God bless you sir!

  12. This question has always lingered in my mind , “what can I do today that would make a huge positive impact on humanity someday ?”. I go to the internet, I read a lot in books and think hard, the ideas I get scare me 😄, because they are too big and radical. Someday, I’ll be an Eagle. I thank God for you Sir.

  13. This is why we young Africans who have a lot of time to start and grow our business ideas need to have depth of knowledge of the industry we are going into. It will give us an insight into the next frontier in our chosen industry in the long term. When the time eventually comes, we will be an innovator or an authority in that industry.

  14. Strive Masiyiwa As i study the eagle, I’m reflecting on the attitude of the eagle in a storm, the eagle is a challenger of the storm
    It is said that eagles are the only birds that love the storm. When all other birds try to flee from the storm and hide its fierceness, eagles fly into it and will use the wind of the storm to rise higher in a matter of seconds. They use the pressure of the storm to glide higher without having to use their own energy. They are able to do this because God has created them uniquely with an ability to lock their wings in a fixed position in the midst of the fierce storm winds. Challenges in the life of a leader are many. These are the storm we must face as leaders to rise to greater heights. Like an eagle, a leader can only rise to greater heights if he or she takes up the challenges head on without running away from it.

  15. It’s true sir, entrepreneurship is about thinking ahead. Breaking the cycle of today for tomorrow. Otherwise, you will remain on the same spot.

    Thank you dear coach. I’m just proud for becoming a man I’ve become through your messages. I promise, your words will never go in vain to me.

  16. Good day sir, I’m in my third year in engineering college, I’m studying Electrical and electronic Engineering, I love anything that have to do with entrepreneurship, I’m always having this skeptical feelings whether it’s best to start the move now or I should wait until I graduated. Pls I want you to help me shed more light on this.


  17. When passion meets entrepreneurship you will see the world in a different way.Most of my colleagues see what I’m executing now in my business and thinks ohh so this is his plan and I tell them I’m 6 yrs behind what you seing now it’s a plan I formulated back then I lived in it ways years back now it’s just a manifestation of my years back Visions. The now Visions are of 10 to 20 years ahead I’m pivoting my business in way that when every catches up like they alwys do I will still be game changer (innovation is a must I need to move up the food chain) by 2040 we be the leaders in our industry. Just like your cape to Cairo vision sir I’m Very sue when u started the project back then your competitors where stil focusing in competing on building mobile networks.

  18. This is the kind of spirit that many of us entrepreneurs miss. We tend to go with what is trending rather than think many years ahead. Thanks for this wonderful insight Sir. As a cofounder of Success Magazine, am now putting much focus on Video and Audio content. Although people in Malawi doesn’t visit YouTube more often because of high values of data bundles, I am able to see the future of video content in Malawi.

    We will keep our heads up and we will win for sure. It doesn’t matter how long it will take but we will keep on fighting until we win.

  19. To be successful today require continuous preparation so that when an opportunity presents itself one will be available to walk into the bank. Let’s keep our eyes open especially men because of the many challenges that lie ahead of us.

  20. #Pause:

    Food Entrepreneurs!

    In the Business Wars podcasts, one of the most interesting battles is what are known as “The Cereal Wars”:
    The battles between the Food Entrepreneurs who created the breakfast cereal industry. The companies they created like Kellogg’s literally created entire towns, and drove American prosperity.

    In Africa we do not have enough Food Entrepreneurs to create products from our agricultural products.

  21. Tony Bigmile writes,

    Chief, thanks for this reply, though specific because he is in third year and got no invention, the same reply will not resonate to a person who is not in school. And maybe, Richard Branson your friend may answer the same question on a different dimension. Still I suggest finishing school if the learner to a larger extending is grasping the content he is being taught well.

    My reply,
    I know about Richard Branson, but there are two things you need to remember:
    #1. Firstly he is a man in his seventies, and in his time, most young people did not go to University.
    #2. Richard Branson is a man of who is basically a genius. I have met him many times, and I know what I’m talking about.
    Unless you are also a proven genius, I suggest you stay in school like all of us.

  22. #Pause:

    Education Entrepreneurs!

    In this discussion, I introduced you to two types of entrepreneurs that Africa desperately needs:
    #1. Food Entrepreneurs;
    #2. Mineral Entrepreneurs.

    Now I want to add a third:
    @Education Entrepreneurs!

    Someone who will look at this opportunity:
    #1. Africa needs to educate over 750m people that are under the age of 20. Think about it!
    #2. Africa needs to educate over 400m adults who cannot read or write,
    Think about it!
    #3, Africa needs to create skills opportunities for over 750m young people so they can be employable.
    Think about it!

    #4, Africa needs to update the skills of more than 500m people so that they can earn better incomes.
    Think about it!

    An Education Entrepreneur does not see problems, but opportunities.

    An Education Entrepreneur knows how to start small:
    If you are a teacher you can start an Online class for free so that you can develop your digital skills.
    Think about it!

    What an opportunity is waiting for someone who sees themselves as an @EducationEntrepreneur.
    The challenge is can you Innovate in the digital age?
    Can you make money through innovation?

    I have two billionaire friends who started as school teachers.
    Do you know who they are?

    There is a saying in my language which literally means:
    “The best Opportunities fall to those who don’t know how to take advantage of them.”


    Khabazela Mhlanga writes,

    You are right @ Strive Masiyiwa, in January this year, 2021, I started tutoring primary schools learners from grade 3 to 6 in Eswatini via WhatsApp recorded videos and WhatsApp video.

    For the first week I did the service for FREE, Kine Academy some people made bad comments when I advertised in different groups on Facebook. I kept my cool as #nothing turns on this#. About 100 parents (mostly women) joined the WhatsApp group and were allocated group classes.

    Fast forward to a week later, having gained trust and confidence of the parents, I announced that there will be service fees at an equivalent of $6 per month per subject. I offer English, Mathematics, SiSwati, and I have partnered with another teacher who teaches Religious Studies and Social Studies. All in all we currently offer 5 subjects.

    I’m happy to announce that 15 parents paid for the month of February as well as March, and as I speak classes continue for the month of March (schools are still closed) with those parents!

    When shools have opened I will………shhhhhhhhhhh (not yet time to announce) but I’m on a journey to meet a human need!

    3 Ps check
    People? (Me of course, for now) Check? Yes
    Product? Check? Yes
    Process? ……yes but there is room for improvement especially after schools have opened.

    NB: I will not be posting videos on a website as that is already covered, all information is already available on YouTube and other websites!

    #game changer!

    My reply,
    You are my #ShoutOut of the week!
    This business of yours is going to grow. Stay at it, and continue to add Innovations.

  24. #Education Entrepreneurs on Sasai Watch!

    I get so excited when I see Education Entrepreneurs who are using Sasai Watch, and Sasai Podcast to post lessons for a broader student base.
    Let’s ReImagine Education through entrepreneurship!

    Why can’t more teachers offer tutorials using a platform like Sasai Watch, and Sasai Podcast?

    It does not cost anything except time, and passion.

    If I was a High School teacher, I would post tutorials on difficult issues that my students struggle with.

    Just imagine what could happen!!!


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