Entrepreneurs speak about their motivations for 2013

What motivates entrepreneurs building great companies in Africa? At VC4Africa, the largest online community of African entrepreneurs and investors, ‘creating better lives’ and ‘feeling you can change the world’ come out as the most popular motivations in its recent poll on the subject.

Are you in it for the money, or for another reason? The survey we circulated in the Venture Capital for Africa community indicates many African entrepreneurs are triggered by social motives. A whopping 68% of the respondents chose ‘creating better lives’ and ‘feeling you can change the world’ as what motivates them the most as an entrepreneur. Fifty percent of the respondents chose ‘earning your own income’ and ‘solving difficult problems’ as their next big motivators. Finally, ‘positive feedback from customers’ (30%) and ‘the thrill of competition’ (24%) topped the list.

entrepreneur motivation chart

Lucien Manga, who participated in the poll and writes from Cameroon, says, “For me, it’s the desire to create change and my ability to improve the lives around me that motivates me most.” Matthew Ogagavworia, writing from Nigeria, emphasizes the importance of having an impact on society: “The possibility of impacting society and influencing the course of events.”

Building something from the ground up and starting from scratch is also underlined by many of the entrepreneurs who participated in the poll. Katarina Korenkova writes from London: “Giving a physical form to a pure idea is thrilling. For me it is not really a choice to do/create something, it is an internal force. I would say an entrepreneur is an artist”. About seeing something grow from a small idea into something with massive impacts, she adds: “I get motivated by the creation process, by the vision of endless opportunities and by the potential I have to impact thousands of people.”

Smith Olabisi, writing from Nigeria, emphasizes the impact on society: “The zeal to contribute a positive quota to life, creating from nothing and solving issues”. David M. Matsinhe writes from Canada about the qualities of the startup scene: “The beautiful dusty feet and sweaty bodies of grassroots entrepreneurs, innovators and leaders — that is the source of my motivation — to see people building businesses and great things from ground zero.”

Many entrepreneurs also want to contribute to the empowerment of others. Tosin Animashaun writes from Nigeria: “Putting a smile on people’s faces and enabling them to be in charge of their own affairs.” Bernard Omega writes from Uganda about his wish to pass on knowledge to new generations of entrepreneurs: “The ability to empower the youth for their destiny through trainings in business management skills”. And Olalekan Osundina writes from London about the fulfilment he gets from coaching fellow entrepreneurs: “Helping other entrepreneurs to realize their dreams.”

This article by Miguel Heilbron originally appeared on VC4Africa, a Burn Media publishing partner.



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