I think sometimes we are already looking for an excuse NOT to move forward in life so, it becomes so easy to blame “ lack of capital ” for the reason our progress stalled. Either that, or we have the wrong notion that starting a business automatically means you need a huge office with a car complete with a secretary, etc. But not so. Learn to raise capital right.
If you are going to be an entrepreneur, your creativity CANNOT only end at dreaming up the idea – no, your creativity has to show up in how you finance your project. So no one wants to finance your idea – well, they don’t have an obligation to – so, does your dream have to DIE as a result?
1. Personal financing
I always say, the issue of how to raise capital is always daunting if you try to do everything at once. When I developed my first Bible memorizing app, Bible-By-Heart, for example and a current project I am working on, I tried as hard as possible to work on it in little bits. Every month, a part of my salary goes into financing my current project. That’s why I keep a job – to finance what I am really passionate about – Why? Because I feel they are worthy enough opportunities not to be allowed to die.
2. Crowd financing
On the other hand, there are such things as “Funding Angels” and “Funding Crowds” – these are basically groups of people who chip in bits and pieces of their spare money to create a big pool to fund projects that they feel have an outstanding chance of success – globally or regionally. To access or raise capital from these, I feel the main criteria is – to have a product or project that possesses the potential for huge success worldwide or regionally.
But you see, this is where our African entrepreneurs are caught short. First, we seem to have a too-high sense of our genius rating – so the fact that someone has thought about an idea, s/he feels it is automatically a winning or superior idea and is not open to it being called otherwise – even if that’s the truth. Well, if it is a brilliant idea, you should have no difficulty sourcing funds from these pools. The good thing is, once you get funding from this pools, that in itself generates international publicity around your product.
The other handicap is that we more often than not, feel it’s all happening in our country. No, Ghana for a example has over 24 million people. The world offers us a 7 billion people market outside the walls of Ghana. If you think with this platform in mind – your product, your idea, and their superiority will reflect it. Think global. The only way to raise capital right
3. Funding from family
But how about talking to family. I have come across people who have said, yes they talked to a family member who has agreed to provide all the money but wants a 20% part in the business even though he is not going to help run it – and I asked “did you refuse it?” their response was “yes” and I said to them – “you are either greedy, not ready to be an entrepreneur or you don’t value the potential of your idea.”
There are probably family members who are keeping monies under their beds and don’t know what to do with it – sell your idea to them and cut a good deal. Don’t kill the idea simply because someone wants to have a small bit of your success in return for giving you the money… that’s greed.
See what to know about venture capitals and how to raise capital.
4. Funding from financial institutions
The mainstream bank I always say should be the source of last resort to raise capital. I share the pain of entrepreneurs out there and it is in times like this that I wonder why pressure cannot be brought to bear on the banking sector to support budding entrepreneurs (maybe through government guarantee schemes) as their way of delivering social responsibility – these petty petty social responsibilities of making one time donations for road campaigns or blood donations is over. We need some maturity in the way government and private sector engage for the betterment of the ordinary citizen.
You want to really be an entrepreneur? – Then show your creativity in the financing of your project.
If you believe in your project enough to do whatever is necessary to make it happen – the world will believe in it too. I wish you all the very best in doing the best thing ever – to CREATE something. And remember,
if you fail, you haven’t failed, you have only learnt – practically.
Get up and now, start running, raise capital. If you fall again – get up, look up and fly and don’t ever look down.
Author: Marricke Kofi Gane, a Ghanaian Certified Chartered Accountant, Entrepreneur and an International Development specialist. He is also a published author and a technology and economics enthusiast. A well renowned public speaker, he is well noted for deep insights into future business trends and challenging the status quo of Africa’s politics.
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Source Beauty is pushing the boundaries of Egyptian e-commerce
Egyptian e-commerce: the county’s digital drive has not yet gotten to the growth typically seen in European countries and North America. However, as businesses have started shifting online, customers are now following suit, resulting in the gradual development of the digital eco-system.
Innovation, such as digital marketing, is reinventing the consumers’ path to purchase. The Egyptian e-commerce market is expected to grow at a rate of 33% annually to approximately $3bn by 2022, according to Oxford Business Group.
Source Beauty and disruption
The increase in e-commerce comes from rising internet penetration rates, driven by connected and digitally savvy millennials. Several platforms, both locally and internationally, such as the direct-to-consumer beauty platform Source Beauty, have disrupted the beauty industry in the region to drive their growth by truly connecting with their customers.
By being aware of the changing consumer behaviour trends in the e-commerce landscape, service providers like Source Beauty are continually fostering customer engagement with a community they have created. The customer service team, along with the editorial and marketing teams, respond to each comment and direct message, making customers feel listened to.
Lydia Schoonderbeek, the founder and CEO of Source Beauty, said:
“Egypt has traditionally been a price-driven market. After devaluation and high inflation rates, people have become much more price sensitive. People are consuming less and are shifting away from imported products due to price, accessibility and inconsistency in supply. As a result, they’re looking for local alternatives.”
In line with its digital transformation and financial inclusion agenda, the Egyptian government has set in place directives to raise the limit for electronic payments for individuals via mobile phones to EGP30,000 (USD1,905) per day, and EGP100,000 (USD6,350) per month, since March 2020. Traditionally, 70% of online purchases were cash on delivery, which has proven to be a major challenge to e-commerce growth throughout the region. This preference has changed to credit card payments, increasing to 30% from 16% due to the spread of Covid-19, but it remains to be seen whether purchasing behaviors will be affected in the long term.
The CEO of Source Beauty further added that, the company had seen substantial growth thanks to the COVID-19 global pandemic, with existing and new customers wanting to limit in-person beauty services and adhering to social distancing and mask-wearing requirements. Beauty customers, she says were changing spending habits, moving towards products that allow them to recreate the salon experience in their homes and protect them from the potential impact of an increasingly digital lifestyle. Finally, she believes they have seen customers prioritising skincare and haircare purchases over makeup.
The question is, ‘Is anyone in Egypt going to buy beauty products online?’. Who thought people would buy books on the internet from a website called Amazon! Well, the answer seems to be YES. Consumer spending in Egypt on non-essential goods has reached EGP 3.90bn in 2020 and is set to reach 8.81bn in 2021, according to FitchSolution’s 2021 Report.
According to the Egyptian e-commerce beauty company, Source Beauty, it believes that the world is in an era where consumers are looking to associate with brands and not products, to make their beauty purchasing decisions and this is where homegrown brands like theirs will doubtlessly lead to economic growth in Egypt.
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