- Tech-driven companies like Amazon have enabled many would-be entrepreneurs to sell their products to a market they would otherwise have struggled to access.
- With technology, earning an honest living from what one owns, knows, or can do, should be much easier.
It is near impossible to make a living today in Africa despite the continent being home to some of the fastest growing economies in the world today.
On top of its abundant resources, most African countries have remarkably young populations, both prerequisites for rapid economic growth and social advancement.
A good example of this is in the agricultural sector. Farmers today still face century-old problems such as access to market, market pricing transparency, and capital.
Their hurdles can be linked to other cadres of potential economic producers, that face a huge gulf between having resources and earning a living from them.
These hurdles are unique and contextual, but some cut across the board. Capital is, for example, is inaccessible, if you are not an existing business with a good credit history – whether you can prove there is a ready market for your goods or services or not, which is a key reason why most entrepreneurs seek angel investments rather than going through the credit access bureaucracies to kickstart their business.
Does this always need to be the case? There are valid reasons why financial institutions are risk averse to new enterprises, yet the history of modern commerce is awash with financially solid individuals wagering large bets on those with the knowledge to transform an opportunity into more money and earn a living while at it.
But there are many factors that keep widening this gap for any individual intent on building an enterprise and earning a living from it.
One is that even with the right resources, there is still a lot of information to process so we can make the right decisions.
Teachers and professional mentors, in an educational or professional setting, play an important role in closing this information gap – especially, in nurturing future professionals and entrepreneurs to think about solving local problems from a global perspective.
Part of the work in building an enterprise is in knowing what not to do, which can be learnt from experience or benchmarking on best practice.
To start asking the right questions, would-be entrepreneurs need to have the basics of how things work, how they can be improved, and how others have done similar things.
Entrepreneurs can also help by building tools, through technology, and make things easier for the would-be entrepreneurs uncertain about how to access a market for they offerings.
If there was no internet, many companies would not exist, and if they did, not at the kind of scale they are in today.
Tech-driven companies like Amazon have enabled many would-be entrepreneurs to sell their products to a market they would otherwise have struggled to access.
Our company, Sendy, was built on a similar premise: bringing truck-owners them into a logistics framework that gives them the chance to earn a living without having to jump through the hoops they would have to if they tried it alone.
These tools have closed the gap for many people. They offer a straightforward solution to using the resources available to make money.
Not everyone needs to, or desires, to control the entire value chain of a product or service. There are many ways entrepreneurs can solve basic problems faced by others when trying to access a market, or information about it.
If this sounds like the primary tenet of the drive to digitize everything, it is because it is. But it goes beyond an internet presence – it is about cutting the time and effort required to bring products to market and get good value.
Although it is apparent there are more of such tools today – Uber, AirBnB, and a plethora of companies modeled on mediating the distance between the resource owner and an income, there are still many other contexts where people are struggling to earn anything from what they own or is readily available to them.
Equally significant, the primary role of our governments in determining how people transition from owning to earning a living from something, is grossly underestimated.
This transcends taxes and regulatory environments, it is about building and maintaining social infrastructure such as a road that can enable a logistics firm, for example, access more farmers to earn a living from their produce.
The advantages of this goes beyond the access, and could include the fact that the logistics firm, through technology, can predict maintenance costs, and offer everyone involved in the value chain stability in returns.
With technology, earning an honest living from what one owns, knows, or can do, should be much easier.
The writer is the Founder and CEO of Sendy Limited