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The Covid-19 pandemic has caused a massive shift in the world, with many entrepreneurs putting a hold on pursuing their business ideas.
Philani Sangweni, Managing Partner for Entrepreneurs for Entrepreneurs Africa, argues that it is the perfect time for entrepreneurs to pursue their business ideas.
Sangweni points out a few reasons as to why you should start your entrepreneurial journey now
There are two sides to a coin in the current situation and Sangweni argues that although the economic landscape may still be uncertain, the status quo has resulted in various unprecedented opportunities for entrepreneurs.
“Any business that is able to launch successfully during these extraordinary times will be well set up to thrive into the future,” said Sangweni
Reasons to begin your entrepreneurial journey
Throughout history, some of the most successful businesses globally were founded during periods of economic hardship. Uber, Slack, WhatsApp and Instagram are all examples of hugely successful enterprises birthed in the wake of the 2008 Recession
Their founders all spotted gaps that were indeed there before the financial crisis, but which widened in its wake. New technologies and fresh approaches doing things were essential in that post-crisis world and, rather than taking the safe route, these companies’ founders grabbed the opportunity to help build those new technologies.
Post COVID-19, there will be many such gaps that need to be filled. Note that we’re not just talking about short-term opportunities, but also long-term solutions that cater to new ways of living and working. At E4Eafrica we are currently finalizing investments into businesses that are using innovative technology to fill critical gaps that have been made even more apparent by the COVID-19 crisis.
Another side-effect of the COVID-19 pandemic is that most people have become familiar, and comfortable, with remote work. This means you are no longer limited to the city in which you live when it comes to securing the right talent for your venture. Nor does it mean you have to move to make your business work.
Depending on what you are building, you could be in Cape Town, your COO in Johannesburg, and your head developer in Bloemfontein. As long as you have the right procedures and policies in place, there’s no reason you can’t build a successful business with your team spread across the country – or even the world.
Similarly, you’re likely to find that you’re less constrained in terms of the investors you can approach. Certainly, some funds have been impacted by the market losses experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic and deal activity experienced an initial slow-down period
Sangweni says that traditional investments are likely to provide low returns for some time to come, there will certainly be investor appetite for high-return vehicles.
With the high cost of investments in established hubs such as Silicon Valley, emerging market entrepreneurs could stand to cash in over the coming months and years.
That said, startups and entrepreneurs must be aware that they will not find themselves in a situation where free money is the order of the day.
The fundamentals of applying for investment will still apply, and entrepreneurs will have to show that they’re building something capable of generating serious long term sustainable value.
No such thing as safety
Ultimately, however, the most significant reason why now is the ideal time to become an entrepreneur is that it has never before been so crystal clear what an illusion safety is. For example, the corporate job you are holding onto has given you valuable skills that could be applied more productively for society through entrepreneurship while giving you more control of your destiny.
If you remember that and remain cognizant of the risks, you will be well-placed to reap the rewards that come with entrepreneurship.
Featured image: Philani Sangweni, Managing Partner at E4E Africa (Supplied)