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Tony Elumelu Foundation partners with Stanford University to produce research on the mindset of African entrepreneurs

The research revealed that pertinent cultural factors influence women’s entrepreneurial journeys in the region.



Nigerian multimillionaire Tony Elumelu.

Africa’s leading philanthropy has released a comprehensive research study centered on African entrepreneurs in partnership with Stanford University. The research from the Tony Elumelu Foundation revealed that pertinent cultural factors influence women’s entrepreneurial journeys in the region, among other compelling conclusions.

Women in Africa are well represented in entrepreneurship. Yet, their businesses are less profitable and experience delayed growth in comparison to male-owned enterprises. 

The research found that women and men have different business motivations and aims, and there are stark differences in how they discuss their customers and products. 

For male entrepreneurs, motivations revolve around “profit,” “growth” and “capital.” In contrast, the motivation for female entrepreneurs is social impact via products, services and industries. 

Capital consideration was also a defining aspect for most African entrepreneurs. The research used data compiled from the almost 140,000 African entrepreneurs who applied to the Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Program between 2015 and 2017. Access to capital was identified as playing a critical role in how a business is run and initially conceptualized – from its size and scope to its design and goals. 

The researchers also noted that African entrepreneurs, aware of their limitations in raising capital, often restrict their ideas. With increased access to and greater opportunities for seed funding, African SMEs will dream bigger and launch businesses with a larger footprint. 

The research further investigated the mindset of entrepreneurs, presenting a unique understanding of the challenges facing African startups and the areas for growth across multiple sectors. It provides an opportunity to rethink how entrepreneurship is approached and supported, identifying two categories of entrepreneurs. 

The first set of entrepreneurs – described as the exchange mindset – are grounded in their purpose of providing products and services, nurturing relationships with employees and customers and providing value to others. The second set – labeled the organization mindset – is more concerned about creating, growing and expanding their company.

The exchange mindset is characterized by a micro-level, “on-the-ground” view, while the “organization mindset” entrepreneurs focused on “being an entrepreneur” and were characterized by a more macro-level view of themselves and their activities. Rather than orienting themselves around the exchange of products and services with customers, organization mindset entrepreneurs focused on their purpose behind creating and growing a company. The study found that individuals with this mindset often discussed growth and performance, managing people and assets and industry dynamics. Their attention is directed toward the characteristics of their business and its performance and expansion.

The exchange mindset entrepreneurs show the utmost concern about the quality of products and services. In close contrast, the organization mindset entrepreneurs are likely to express internal motivation such as feelings of ownership and control, leading to an individualistic focus. 

Both mindsets have varying management styles. The former view and describe their employees as equals whose opinions are valued and the latter as resources to be managed. Although differences in entrepreneurial mindsets might exist, African entrepreneurs are fundamentally characterized by their zeal to create significant impact in one way or another. 

These differences were most visible geographically in North, West, East and Central Africa. In West Africa, entrepreneurs – particularly Nigerians – had motivations embedded in profit-oriented language, while Central Africa and Eastern African entrepreneurs seemed to be more oriented toward social justice and community development. North African entrepreneurs were more disposed toward cyclical, project-based work. In Eastern and Western Africa, there was a greater emphasis on farming and agriculture. Central African entrepreneurs showed a high degree of overlap with Eastern Africans when discussing why they became entrepreneurs.

The research concluded that more African entrepreneurs need to adopt the organizational mindset, which is linked to higher business success. Most entrepreneurs with the “exchange mindset” were women, highlighting the less formal level via which women view entrepreneurial enterprises. Women entrepreneurs must be empowered to think differently. African entrepreneurs must embrace the language of creation alongside a clear vision for growth, achievable through guided and targeted mentorship. 

Indeed, true to driving impact, the Tony Elumelu Foundation recently opened its online portal to receive applications from extraordinary individuals across the continent with a minimum of five years of business or professional experience to apply for a chance to mentor young African entrepreneurs. No doubt, mentorship can be valuable across all business stages and levels of experience. These mentors will be assigned to entrepreneurs from the program to provide quality guidance that plays into their business interests. Mentors are required to participate in two-hour sessions every month over a 12-month period and are rewarded with certificates of achievements and value-add opportunities.

With a labor force of more than 400 million, which will surge by at least 70 percent before 2035, Africa is at a critical crossroads as per what to do with such viable manpower. To convert this young African workforce into creators of prosperity, the Tony Elumelu Foundation continues to advocate strongly for young men and women’s participation in entrepreneurship. Through its flagship Entrepreneurship Program launched in 2015, over 9,000 SMEs have been trained, funded and mentored, energizing the private sector in the process and creating hundreds of thousands of jobs directly and indirectly.

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Cameroonian multimillionaire banker Alain Nkontchou’s stake in Ecobank now worth $3.76 million

Nkontchou controls a beneficial 0.98-percent stake in the bank.



Alain Nkontchou.

Cameroonian multimillionaire banker Alain Nkontchou’s stake in Ecobank Transnational Inc., a leading pan-African banking conglomerate, is now worth N1.56 billion ($3.76 million).

Ecobank is the leading independent regional banking group in West and Central Africa, serving wholesale and retail customers in 36 African countries.

In the first nine months of 2021, the Togo-based financial services conglomerate reported an 847-percent growth in profit from $27 million to $256 million thanks to improved efficiency in its banking operations.

Nkontchou, who holds a leadership position in the pan-African banking group as a chairman and non-executive director, controls a beneficial 0.98-percent stake, amounting to 179,019,674 shares.

As of press time, Jan. 18, shares in Ecobank on the Nigerian Exchange were trading at N8.7 ($0.021), unchanged from their opening price on the local bourse this morning, as bearish and bullish sentiments were cleared out evenly.

At this price, the market value of his 0.98-percent stake in the pan-African bank is valued at N1.56 billion ($3.76 million).

Nearly a month ago, Nkontchou spent N1.13 billion ($2.35 million) to complete the acquisition of an additional 0.72-percent stake, which amounts to 131,379,263 ordinary shares in the bank.

The deal saw his stake rise from 0.26 percent, or 47,640,411 shares, to 0.98 percent, or 179,019,674 shares. Since he acquired the shareholding, the market value of his stake has expanded from N1.32 billion ($3.19 million) to N1.56 billion ($3.76 million).

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Nigerian mogul Abdul Samad Rabiu’s food business posts huge profit since listing

The news comes despite a slump in fortified sugar sales and a single-digit increase in its direct production costs.



Abdul Samad Rabiu.

Led by Nigerian billionaire businessman Abdul Samad Rabiu, the newly consolidated food business BUA Foods Plc has reported more than $39.9 million in profit in the first nine months of 2021.

The news comes despite a slump in fortified sugar sales and a single-digit increase in its direct production costs.

Its recently published unaudited financial statement for the first nine months of 2021 represents its first financial filing since its shares were listed on the Nigerian Exchange nearly two weeks ago.

Compared to last year’s figures, BUA Foods’ net profit rose by 6.8 percent from N15.53 billion ($37.5 million) in the first nine months of 2020 to N16.56 billion ($40 billion) at the end of the first nine-month period of 2021.

Its resilient financial performance in 2021, which led to the single-digit surge in profit, was driven by a 152-percent rise in sales by industrial sugar, pharmaceutical and food and beverage manufacturing companies.

Its performance during the nine-month period was also supported by the increased sale of sweeteners coupled with a decline in operating expenses from N2.4 billion ($5.8 million) in 2020 to N1.37 billion ($3.3 million) in 2021.

As a result, BUA Foods’ operating profit rose from N18.96 billion ($45.8 million) to N21.25 billion ($51.3 million), while its net profit increased by 6.8 percent.

During the nine-month period, the company’s total assets grew by 5.36 percent from N348.65 billion ($841.5 million) to N367.35 billion ($886.7 million), while the retained earnings linked to its shareholders increased from N112.7 billion ($272 million) to N129.3 billion ($312.1 million).

As of the opening of the Nigerian Exchange this morning, Jan. 18, shares in BUA Foods were trading at a price of N61.8 ($0.149) per share, 6.3-percent lower than their opening price on the local bourse yesterday.

Since listing on the Nigerian Exchange 12 days ago, BUA Foods’ stock price and market capitalization have soared by more than 54 percent thanks to sustained investor buying interest in the company.

The upward price movement saw the consolidated food company become the most capitalized consumer goods company on the Nigerian Exchange ahead of Nestle Nigeria Plc.

The price bump also pushed the net worth of Rabiu above the $7.9-billion mark, making him the second-wealthiest man in Nigeria ahead of telecom mogul Mike Adenuga.

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South African billionaire Michiel Le Roux gains more than $141.4 million in 27 days

Le Roux founded Capitec Bank, one of South Africa’s largest retail banks, about 21 years ago.



South African billionaire Michiel Le Roux.

South African billionaire bank founder Michiel Le Roux has seen his net worth skyrocket by more than $141.4 million in the past 27 days, as shares in South Africa’s leading retail banking group, Capitec Bank, soar by 8.4 percent.

Le Roux, who founded Capitec Bank, one of South Africa’s largest retail banks, about 21 years ago, holds a substantial 11.41-percent stake amounting to 13,190,043 shares in the Stellenbosch-based banking group.

The multimillion-dollar surge in his net worth since Dec. 21, 2021 can be linked to a surge in the market value of his stake, as shares in Capitec Bank soared above the $138-per-share mark.

As of afternoon, Jan. 17, shares in the group were worth R2,132.12 ($138.57) per share, 1.91-percent lower than their opening price on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange that morning.

At that price, the market value of Le Roux’s stake is worth more than $1.82 billion, while the bank’s market capitalization is $16.4 billion.

Shares in the bank have increased from a price of R1,967.16 ($127.85) at the closing of trading on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange on Dec. 21, 2021 to R2,132.12 ($$138.57) at the time of drafting this report.

This translates to an 8.4-percent gain for the bank’s shareholders since December 2021.

As a result of the price bump, the market value of Le Roux’s stake has increased from N25.95 billion ($1.69 billion) to R2.18 billion ($1.83 billion) between Dec. 21, 2021 and Jan. 17. This led to a total R2.18-billion ($141.41 million) gain for the billionaire in the past 27 days.

In an effort to protect his stake in Capitec from downside risks and leverage it to secure debt funding, Le Roux executed hedging and financing transactions on 1.25 million shares in Capitec Bank against the volatility in the stock market.

The businessman completed the collar transaction in four tranches between August and December. At the current market price, the transaction is worth R2.5 billion ($157.2 million).

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