Three Business Opportunities for the Entrepreneurs in the Diaspora Looking to Come Back to Africa

The evolution of business ideas in Africa has taken an impressive turn in less than five years. No other sector has seen such drastic growth like technology. In earlier years, the idea of technology in Africa was based on the consumption of software and hardware made by Americans and the Chinese. To many of us, being tech savvy was limited to being able to use computers or just install and manipulate software. But as we started having more access to the internet and tech infrastructure, there was a rise in the number of Africans creating software and hardware companies of their own.

Now, our idea of technology has changed radically. This can be applied to many other industries too - and indeed, we are already seeing it happen. Look at the banking and marketing industries, for example. As the days go by, the queues in banks are getting shorter as more people are buying into the idea of internet banking and virtual transactions. What we knew to be banking has been revolutionized. Also, our marketing (including advertising) agencies have changed the way they sell products to us. Now, they are adopting digital approaches where their efforts can be backed with visible data (i.e. metrics).

But even with this, there are still many industries that are dormant and need to be shaken up. Here are five industries in Africa that need to be disrupted quickly:

1. Animation and cartooning
If there’s one industry in Africa that’s ripe for the taking, it’s this one. Considering the box office success of animated movies such as The Jungle Book, there’s no doubt that the demand for consumption of similar entertainment is high. Even with this demand, there are only a few players in the space and most of the ones with global acclaim are produced in the United States or other countries in the Western world..

There are a number of reasons why the animation industry hasn’t taken off. A lot has to do with the lack of infrastructure, lack of training and inadequate investment. But there’s a market for it, as proven by the success of the Supa Strikas franchise (both the animated TV series and the comic books). The comic books sell at about 720,000 copies per month and the animated series airs in at least 120 countries. The franchise has also succeeded through partnerships with Mr. Biggs, Texaco, Mobil, Milo and Shoprite.

But despite the success of Supa Strikas, there is a considerable gap in the African comic book and animated series market.

2. Construction and Real Estate
It has become increasingly more difficult for young African professionals to find affordable housing for rent or purchase in their countries. This is usually because of the huge down payments that are required and poor financing options available. With this comes a big opportunity worth exploring; the idea of co-living spaces or installmental housing payment options. A startup currently making waves because they are exploring this option is Fibre.ng.

There are also some companies thinking of more creative ways to solve the affordable housing problem using cargotecture -- a building system where houses are made from ISO shipping containers.

3. Customer care
Quality customer service is not something a number of African businesses are known for. Think about the way customer service officers at banks handle customer queries. It’s almost like they don’t like their jobs. Or the numerous complaints about how some businesses treat their customers.Yet customers value being treated well and identify quality customer care as one of the top reasons for brand loyalty and referrals.

You can create a company that offers to train people in the art of customer service, gives them personality tests to improve their self awareness, assesses their emotional intelligence levels and teaches them to improve it, and then sends them to companies at the end of the process.


These are a few examples of industries in Africa that need to be shaken up. With solid digital illustration and business management skills, one can easily startup an animation company. Also, you can study the Andela model to help understand how customer service disruption can happen. For real estate disruption, take a page from the stories of Uber, Lyft and Airbnb.

Whichever option you choose to go with, we would be happy to help. Our goal is to empower businesses like yours by providing them with the tools and knowledge necessary to drive high business performance. Here’s what some of our clients have to say. Contact us for a consultation.

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

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