8.08.2017

The Art of Networking: You and Startup Investors

Imagine, it’s 5am and you’re getting ready for work. The month has not been exactly easy and you are down to your last $500. Two people have called you a considerable number of times and have left text messages. Both are asking for $400, both  messages contain heart-wrenching stories backing their requests, both need the money immediately and have promised to return it, possibly with profit, in a similar space of time. This is what we call a dilemma and you’re right in the middle of it.

7.25.2017

Measuring Growth as a Startup

Measuring Growth as a Startup
What if your favorite soccer match came on the TV, and this time round, there are no goal posts? How do we separate the winner from the loser? What breathtaking goals do we celebrate? What are we doing behind our televisions at all?
Goals and achievements do not only give us something to cheer about, they tell us how far we have come and where we have to go next.  From primary school pupils to developing nations, every individual and entity will grow in some way, and to better determine how to spur that growth in a positive direction, one must take the pains to measure this growth.
For start-ups as well, focusing on daily activities without taking stock can make your efforts as pointless as the players on a goalless pitch. It also makes decision making even more difficult.
Management thinker, Peter Drucker, once said, what cannot be measured, cannot be improved.

7.11.2017

Handling Criticisms as a Founder: Weathering Criticism and Using it as a Tool for Growth

For some people, criticisms equal failure. For some, getting criticised for getting something wrong is an attack on their their personality and their abilities. But come to think of it, what is life without criticism, whether constructive, caustic, or empty? What is life without feedback from people that want to see you succeed and even those that don’t? What is life without growth? Stagnant. Boring. Bland. Life without criticism is life without growth, because then it would be nigh impossible to know what to improve at.

6.27.2017

Food for Thought- The Ikea Effect

Recently, I came across a podcast called Hidden Brain on NPR. It's become one of my favorites focusing on a broad range of topics from our fascination with social media to gun control. Earlier this week, I listened to an episode on the Ikea effect- which refers to how our perception of ideas/physical objects change when we create them ourselves. As an entrepreneur I've experienced this, becoming attached to my ideas and not taking the most objective approach to evaluating them.

Have you experienced the Ikea effect? Send us an email and share your story.

Visit us on the web: www.startsmartgh.com Send us an email: info@startsmartgh.com

6.13.2017

A Creative Mind:Transcending Transport and Building Connections

Where the regular mind sees problems, the creative one sees an opportunity, and takes on the challenge. From the concept to the final product/service, questions will be asked.

How can we make this better? How can we implement our customer’s feedback? What’s next?

Cellular Transport
Years after the advent of mobile phones, we were still standing by the side of the road to flag down taxis. All that changed on a snowy Paris evening in 2008, when Travis Kalanick and Garrett Camp, had problems hailing a cab. They came up with a simple idea—tap a button, get a ride. With a billion connections and counting, the Uber app has continued to create possibilities for drivers, riders and cities. In Africa, the presence of Uber since 2013 in several cities across the continent including Accra, Lagos, Nairobi and Johannesburg has resulted in the creation of jobs and revenue for the company.

As Uber creates convenience in the area of transportation, Kenyan startup Ma3route has democratised it. In Kenya, unlike Paris, the problem of transportation is not only in the availability of cabs but in the constraints of poor city planning and shabby road networks. Ma3route is an SMS/Mobile/Web based app that hopes to bring sanity to roads in emerging economies through the provision of transport data and trend analysis. Users regularly update the information on the app by providing traffic stats and scenarios that help others plan their commute.

5.30.2017

A Creative Mind: Disrupting Stews and Birthing Nollywood

A great product or service very often starts with a question.

Why can’t we do this? Is there a better way of doing this? What if we did this?

Questions like these run through the human mind every day begging for answers. For some, they remain just that – questions in the mind while for others, the questions develop into an idea that doesn’t leave until it finds expression. Close your eyes and think for a second about how we live our lives today; from transportation to how we cook to entertainment, there is a lot of creativity at play. So much has changed and will keep changing because many questions were asked and some, thankfully got answers.

A Convenient Stew


In 2015, SLA (She Leads Africa) entrepreneur showcase winner, Kasope Ladipo-Ajai’s OmoAlata Food Services disrupted’ the approach to cooking the traditional tomato stew popular in Nigeria [and a base for many West African dishes, like the mighty Jollof]. Its flagship product, OmoAlata pepper mix is purely organic and is free of food coloring or artificial preservatives. In an interview, Kasope described the process of creating the pepper mix that begins from sourcing the highest quality organic produce. The product helps busy professionals cook healthy food in less than half of the time usually required. On top of all that, it’s eye catching and resealable packaging has helped in its market penetration.

Sir Kenneth of Nollywood

The story of how Nollywood, the second largest film industry in the world came to be is another tale of serendipity and creative thinking. Rather than let hundreds of empty video cassettes go to waste, an enterprising and smart Kenneth Nnebue decided to put them to use. He conceived an idea to create fresh content that he believed would resonate with the Nigerian audience. This resulted in the straight-to-video release of Living in Bondage, the film’s commercial success heralded the beginning of a new era in Nigeria’s motion picture industry, now popularly dubbed Nollywood. In his article, How Nollywood became the second largest film industry, Charles Igwe argues that, “The first operators in Nollywood created stories and scripts that fitted into what was being produced at the time, while supporting a business model that guaranteed profit. In the early days, movies like Living in Bondage, Rattlesnake, Violated, Glamour Girls, and Nneka the Pretty Serpent were financially very successful.”

5.16.2017

Pocket Doctor- Healthcare Done by Startups

On the flip side of undevelopment is opportunity: there is ample room for innovation (and even appropriation of established methods) to solve the myriad of health care problems in Africa. And startups are doing just that! According to McKinsey, the African healthcare space is a multi-billion dollar industry that is rapidly growing.

Access to health is typically abysmal in low-income countries. But, as the world becomes more connected, various businesses have sprung up to link patients to the appropriate health personnel, literally putting a doctor in your mobile phone. Paramount to the issue of access, however, is cost, and in areas where doctors are available, people are often priced out. That’s where startups like Mobisure come in.