“In Africa we don’t lack ideas,we only lack people who believe in our ideas and can genuinely invest in them” said Terry- a young Nigerian i met recently who shared some of his great ideas with me. Terry, no doubt is one of the millions of African youths whose ideas are yet to see the light of the day because they haven’t got the needed financial support to turn those ideas into profitable ventures. I totally agree with Terry and others not just because am involved but the truth.
Interestingly, in a deeper chat with Terry,i found out something, I realised there are very simple things he would have done himself to startup his idea. I have observed that people will only support you when they see you have invested what you have to at least get the idea started. This whole thing is like dancing, people starts liking your dance and clapping for you when they see you are really into your dance.I can deduce from Terry’s statement that most of us have great ideas but very few go the extra mile to get it started,having an idea is not just enough these days. We are all waiting for the convenient time when all the resources needed will magically get into our hands, and when that is yet to happen many get frustrated and clueless about life in this interesting digital age of unlimited possibilities.
What am simply saying is that no matter what the reasons are, there is always a way to get your idea started!Where there are a lot of problems lies a lot of solutions only waiting to be discovered as opportunities. The truth is that African youths with Technology have a future.Technology is thattool that can help the young people in Africa achieve whatever their desires arein life. Technology has the answer to the several questions in the minds of our young people who are passionately seeking for a way to make positive impact in their world.
Exploring the opportunities of new technologies especially the Internet in our world today has several benefits for Africans.From Tunisia to Egypt,Libya,Nigeria,African youths have demonstrated that they can use technology to drive social and political changes in their environment.It is now time to also use those technologies to give our ideas a quantum leap after all Facebook, Google, Twitter, YouTube we all use and admire were all founded by young people elsewhere in the world who also had their own daunting challenges in their environment as Startups.
Having established the fact that there is no reason whatsoever for failure in life, It’s now time for the African youths to start asking those critical questions like – in what simple form can I get my idea started with the technologies readily available to me? Where lies the opportunities around me that I can leverage from?what can I do to position myself for the future? Finding the answers to these pertinent questions leads you in the right path of fulfillment.
But how do African Youths use the Internet?
Let me even ask, How do an average African youth use the Internet, what do they use it for? .The Internet is one of the greatest inventions on earth today. Most young people all over the world especially in America making great impact in the technology space, have their successes connected to the internet in one way or the other. A great number of African youths who use the internet have no idea how the internet can be used positively to improve their lives. The very few who understand this are already making impact in their chosen endeavor. I recently saw an infograph of how Africans use tweeter, how they tweet, very interesting statistics, but I was wondering what where they tweeting about?The world as a global place has metamorphosed into a web with unlimited opportunities and that is the Internet.The interesting thing about the Internet is that it is still evolving and changing with the times.We haven’t seen the best of websites yet. There is room on the internet for that great idea of yours if you can just start up!Africa is just waiting to celebrate you and the world is waiting to honor you!
The following points will guide you in starting out your ideas and making a global impact.
Learn the necessary skills in technology:With the way things are going,not every skill,vocation or training will be relevant for the future.It is time for African youths to start getting into the field of Software Engineering, Microelectronics,Nanotechnology,Computer and information sciences,Physics,Mathematics and related courses. Here, am not just talking about getting the certificate or degrees and then go to look for a job, am talking about learning it so you can start up something with what you have learnt, you begin to create value in the society as well. For instance,the IT certifications you have today in those specific products might not be relevant tomorrow for the future tech products. Ever thought of that?
Generate Ideas from problems in your environment
Africa is faced with a lot of problems no doubt; it simply means that there are a lot of opportunities in finding the solution to those problems. Studying the problems and proffering a solution to them using technology is what am talking about here. Generate ideas that will address those problems like poverty, lack of quality Education, unemployment, social changes, bad governance, environmental challenges, Technology deficiency, health and many others.
You should also explore the use of Mobile phones and Mobile Internet then Mobile Applications; these are growing so fast in Africa. Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon.com said this about the Internet just before he started his online bookstore” Anything growing that fast is going to be ubiquitous very quickly” Seeing this about the Internet at that time motivated him to start Amazon.com and today Amazon is the leading bookstore on the internet. m-Commerce, m-Health, m-learning, m-agriculture, m-governance, m-social etc. are some of the areas you can develop a mobile focused idea because Mobile is the future of Africa.
Imbibe the Success Attitude
The words of Thomas Edison,the great inventor suitably summarized the attitude you need to have. He said”The most important factors of invention can be described in few words.They consist first of definite knowledge as to what one wishes to achieve,one must fix his mind on that purpose with persistence and begin searching for that which he seeks,making use of all accumulated knowledge on the subject.He must keep searching no matter how many times he may meet with disappointment.He must refuse to be influenced by the fact that someone else may have tried the same idea without success.He must keep himself sold on the idea that the solution of his problem exists somewhere and that he will find it.When a man makes up his mind to solve any problem,he may at first meet opposition, but if he holds on and keeps on searching, he will be sure to find some sort of solution. The trouble with most people is that they quit before they start. In all my experiences, I do not recall having ever found solution to any problem connected with my work on my first attempt. And one of the most surprising things is the fact that when I discovered the thing for which I am searching, I generally find that It has been within my reach all the time; but nothing except persistence and a will to win would have revealed it”
Then open your eyes and ears for opportunities
It is now time to open your eyes and ears for opportunities you can leverage to grow your idea. The money you seek to grow your business can come in any form. Use the Internet to explore several ways/places you can get venture funds for African startups, partnerships etc.These days there are various competitions,awards, grants going on for Africa Startupsyou should be part of, who knows one day, you may meet that Angel you seek!